Jun 30, 2015

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare: Good news for parents of special needs children

On June 25 the Supreme Court rejected the last judicial challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Parents of special needs children are breathing a sigh of relief, because the law prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to their children based on pre-existing conditions. 

With "Obamacare" the law of the land, parents with sufficient assets to provide private health insurance for their child may now find that a Special Needs Trust is no longer their best planning tool. A Special Needs Trust can preserve a disabled child's access to Medicare health benefits, among other federal benefits. However, federal law severely restricts how the trust assets may be used. Just giving the beneficiary pocket money may imperil the individual's access to governmental benefits.

If you are a parent who can afford to furnish your child with private health insurance and don't need to preserve his/her access to Medicare, it may make sense to do away with the Special Needs Trust. Instead, you may want to consider leaving assets for your child in a discretionary trust, which gives you broader latitude to determine how the beneficiary may use the money. Or, if your child is capable of managing his/her own financial affairs, you may even wish to leave funds to him/her directly.

One caveat to the above: There is still talk about Congress taking future action to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act. If we have a president in 2016 who agrees with that agenda, special needs children could still be in peril. Please contact The Karp Law Firm to discuss your options.

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