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Minnesota Legislature

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256B.14 RELATIVE'S RESPONSIBILITY.

Subdivision 1.In general.

Subject to the provisions of sections 256B.055, 256B.056, and 256B.06, responsible relative means the parent of a minor recipient of medical assistance or the spouse of a medical assistance recipient.

Subd. 2.Actions to obtain payment.

The state agency shall promulgate rules to determine the ability of responsible relatives to contribute partial or complete payment or repayment of medical assistance furnished to recipients for whom they are responsible. All medical assistance exclusions shall be allowed, and a resource limit of $10,000 for nonexcluded resources shall be implemented. Above these limits, a contribution of one-third of the excess resources shall be required. These rules shall not require payment or repayment when payment would cause undue hardship to the responsible relative or that relative's immediate family. These rules shall be consistent with the requirements of section 252.27 for parents of children whose eligibility for medical assistance was determined without deeming of the parents' resources and income. The county agency shall give the responsible relative notice of the amount of the payment or repayment. If the state agency or county agency finds that notice of the payment obligation was given to the responsible relative, but that the relative failed or refused to pay, a cause of action exists against the responsible relative for that portion of medical assistance granted after notice was given to the responsible relative, which the relative was determined to be able to pay.

The action may be brought by the state agency or the county agency in the county where assistance was granted, for the assistance, together with the costs of disbursements incurred due to the action.

In addition to granting the county or state agency a money judgment, the court may, upon a motion or order to show cause, order continuing contributions by a responsible relative found able to repay the county or state agency. The order shall be effective only for the period of time during which the recipient receives medical assistance from the county or state agency.

Subd. 3.Community spouse contribution.

The community spouse of an institutionalized person who receives medical assistance under section 256B.059, subdivision 5, paragraph (b), has an obligation to pay for the cost of care equal to the dollar value of assets considered available under section 256B.059, subdivision 5.

Subd. 3a.Spousal contribution.

(a) For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the meanings given:

(1) "commissioner" means the commissioner of human services;

(2) "community spouse" means the spouse, who lives in the community, of an individual receiving long-term care services in a long-term care facility or home care services pursuant to the Medicaid waiver for elderly services under section 256B.0915 or the alternative care program under section 256B.0913. A community spouse does not include a spouse living in the community who receives a monthly income allowance under section 256B.058, subdivision 2, or who receives home and community-based services under section 256B.0915, 256B.092, or 256B.49, or the alternative care program under section 256B.0913;

(3) "cost of care" means the actual fee-for-service costs or capitated payments for the long-term care spouse;

(4) "department" means the Department of Human Services;

(5) "disabled child" means a blind or permanently and totally disabled son or daughter of any age based on the Social Security Administration disability standards;

(6) "income" means earned and unearned income, attributable to the community spouse, used to calculate the adjusted gross income on the prior year's income tax return. Evidence of income includes, but is not limited to, W-2 and 1099 forms; and

(7) "long-term care spouse" means the spouse who is receiving long-term care services in a long-term care facility or home and community based services pursuant to the Medicaid waiver for elderly services under section 256B.0915 or the alternative care program under section 256B.0913.

(b) The community spouse of a long-term care spouse who receives medical assistance or alternative care services has an obligation to contribute to the cost of care. The community spouse must pay a monthly fee on a sliding fee scale based on the community spouse's income. If a minor or disabled child resides with and receives care from the community spouse, then no fee shall be assessed.

(c) For a community spouse with an income equal to or greater than 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two and less than 545 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two, the spousal contribution shall be determined using a sliding fee scale established by the commissioner that begins at 7.5 percent of the community spouse's income and increases to 15 percent for those with an income of up to 545 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two.

(d) For a community spouse with an income equal to or greater than 545 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two and less than 750 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two, the spousal contribution shall be determined using a sliding fee scale established by the commissioner that begins at 15 percent of the community spouse's income and increases to 25 percent for those with an income of up to 750 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two.

(e) For a community spouse with an income equal to or greater than 750 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two and less than 975 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two, the spousal contribution shall be determined using a sliding fee scale established by the commissioner that begins at 25 percent of the community spouse's income and increases to 33 percent for those with an income of up to 975 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two.

(f) For a community spouse with an income equal to or greater than 975 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two, the spousal contribution shall be 33 percent of the community spouse's income.

(g) The spousal contribution shall be explained in writing at the time eligibility for medical assistance or alternative care is being determined. In addition to explaining the formula used to determine the fee, the county or tribal agency shall provide written information describing how to request a variance for undue hardship, how a contribution may be reviewed or redetermined, the right to appeal a contribution determination, and that the consequences for not complying with a request to provide information shall be an assessment against the community spouse for the full cost of care for the long-term care spouse.

(h) The contribution shall be assessed for each month the long-term care spouse has a community spouse and is eligible for medical assistance payment of long-term care services or alternative care.

(i) The spousal contribution shall be reviewed at least once every 12 months and when there is a loss or gain in income in excess of ten percent. Thirty days prior to a review or redetermination, written notice must be provided to the community spouse and must contain the amount the spouse is required to contribute, notice of the right to redetermination and appeal, and the telephone number of the division at the agency that is responsible for redetermination and review. If, after review, the contribution amount is to be adjusted, the county or tribal agency shall mail a written notice to the community spouse 30 days in advance of the effective date of the change in the amount of the contribution.

(1) The spouse shall notify the county or tribal agency within 30 days of a gain or loss in income in excess of ten percent and provide the agency supporting documentation to verify the need for redetermination of the fee.

(2) When a spouse requests a review or redetermination of the contribution amount, a request for information shall be sent to the spouse within ten calendar days after the county or tribal agency receives the request for review.

(3) No action shall be taken on a review or redetermination until the required information is received by the county or tribal agency.

(4) The review of the spousal contribution shall be completed within ten days after the county or tribal agency receives completed information that verifies a loss or gain in income in excess of ten percent.

(5) An increase in the contribution amount is effective in the month in which the increase in income occurs.

(6) A decrease in the contribution amount is effective in the month the spouse verifies the reduction in income, retroactive to no longer than six months.

(j) In no case shall the spousal contribution exceed the amount of medical assistance expended or the cost of alternative care services for the care of the long-term care spouse. Annually, upon redetermination, or at termination of eligibility, the total amount of medical assistance paid or costs of alternative care for the care of the long-term care spouse and the total amount of the spousal contribution shall be compared. If the total amount of the spousal contribution exceeds the total amount of medical assistance expended or cost of alternative care, then the agency shall reimburse the community spouse the excess amount if the long-term care spouse is no longer receiving services, or apply the excess amount to the spousal contribution due until the excess amount is exhausted.

(k) A community spouse may request a variance by submitting a written request and supporting documentation that payment of the calculated contribution would cause an undue hardship. An undue hardship is defined as the inability to pay the calculated contribution due to medical expenses incurred by the community spouse. Documentation must include proof of medical expenses incurred by the community spouse since the last annual redetermination of the contribution amount that are not reimbursable by any public or private source, and are a type, regardless of amount, that would be allowable as a federal tax deduction under the Internal Revenue Code.

(1) A spouse who requests a variance from a notice of an increase in the amount of spousal contribution shall continue to make monthly payments at the lower amount pending determination of the variance request. A spouse who requests a variance from the initial determination shall not be required to make a payment pending determination of the variance request. Payments made pending outcome of the variance request that result in overpayment must be returned to the spouse, if the long-term care spouse is no longer receiving services, or applied to the spousal contribution in the current year. If the variance is denied, the spouse shall pay the additional amount due from the effective date of the increase or the total amount due from the effective date of the original notice of determination of the spousal contribution.

(2) A spouse who is granted a variance shall sign a written agreement in which the spouse agrees to report to the county or tribal agency any changes in circumstances that gave rise to the undue hardship variance.

(3) When the county or tribal agency receives a request for a variance, written notice of a grant or denial of the variance shall be mailed to the spouse within 30 calendar days after the county or tribal agency receives the financial information required in this clause. The granting of a variance will necessitate a written agreement between the spouse and the county or tribal agency with regard to the specific terms of the variance. The variance will not become effective until the written agreement is signed by the spouse. If the county or tribal agency denies in whole or in part the request for a variance, the denial notice shall set forth in writing the reasons for the denial that address the specific hardship and right to appeal.

(4) If a variance is granted, the term of the variance shall not exceed 12 months unless otherwise determined by the county or tribal agency.

(5) Undue hardship does not include action taken by a spouse which divested or diverted income in order to avoid being assessed a spousal contribution.

(l) A spouse aggrieved by an action under this subdivision has the right to appeal under subdivision 4. If the spouse appeals on or before the effective date of an increase in the spousal fee, the spouse shall continue to make payments to the county or tribal agency in the lower amount while the appeal is pending. A spouse appealing an initial determination of a spousal contribution shall not be required to make monthly payments pending an appeal decision. Payments made that result in an overpayment shall be reimbursed to the spouse if the long-term care spouse is no longer receiving services, or applied to the spousal contribution remaining in the current year. If the county or tribal agency's determination is affirmed, the community spouse shall pay within 90 calendar days of the order the total amount due from the effective date of the original notice of determination of the spousal contribution. The commissioner's order is binding on the spouse and the agency and shall be implemented subject to section 256.045, subdivision 7. No additional notice is required to enforce the commissioner's order.

(m) If the county or tribal agency finds that notice of the payment obligation was given to the community spouse and the spouse was determined to be able to pay, but that the spouse failed or refused to pay, a cause of action exists against the community spouse for that portion of medical assistance payment of long-term care services or alternative care services granted after notice was given to the community spouse. The action may be brought by the county or tribal agency in the county where assistance was granted for the assistance together with the costs of disbursements incurred due to the action. In addition to granting the county or tribal agency a money judgment, the court may, upon a motion or order to show cause, order continuing contributions by a community spouse found able to repay the county or tribal agency. The order shall be effective only for the period of time during which a contribution shall be assessed.

(n) Counties and tribes are entitled to one-half of the nonfederal share of contributions made under this section for long-term care spouses on medical assistance that are directly attributed to county or tribal efforts. Counties and tribes are entitled to 25 percent of the contributions made under this section for long-term care spouses on alternative care directly attributed to county or tribal efforts.

[See Note.]

Subd. 4.Appeals.

A responsible relative may appeal the determination of an obligation to make a contribution under this section according to section 256.045.

NOTE: Subdivision 3a, as added by Laws 2011, First Special Session chapter 9, article 3, section 5, is effective July 1, 2012. Laws 2011, First Special Session chapter 9, article 3, section 5, the effective date.