Indiana couple married for 63 years forced to live apart because of Medicaid rule

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. – They’ve been together for 63 years, but their family says a Medicaid flaw is keeping them apart.

Paul and Wilma Clauss have been inseparable throughout their more than six decades of marriage, but now they only see each other once a week. Their daughter said the situation is a result of Medicaid, which placed Paul at a different facility from his wife because of a shortage of beds.

“Dad had to be moved, which was heartbreaking,” their daughter, Cyndy Clauss told the Journal & Courier. “Facilities only have a certain number of beds for residents with Medicaid, and there is no way of getting around that.”

4 Fast Facts

  • Lafayette couple forced to live apart because of Medicaid
  • They’ve been married for 63 years
  • They get to see each other once a week
  • Their daughters say the situation is heartbreaking

When the family filled out the paperwork for Paul Clauss’ medical assistance, they thought a bed would be available at the facility where Wilma lived. But that wasn’t the case; the facility only had a certain number of space allotted for Medicaid patients, meaning Paul had to be moved somewhere else.

He’s on a waiting list to return to the facility where Wilma lives, but it’s unclear if that will happen and how long it would take if it does.

The family said Paul has dementia and suffers from “sundowning,” which gives him additional anxiety when it gets dark outside. Wilma’s presence helps calm him down.


An official with the Family and Social Services Administration said the situation has been brought to her attention. She pledged to follow up and see if she can help the family.

For now, Wilma’s facility will take her to see her husband once a week.

The family acknowledged that the nursing facilities are sympathetic to the situation and are doing the best they can.

Read more at J&C.

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