Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), a State is permitted to implement cost sharing for all services funded by this chapter by recipients of the services.
A State or tribal organization shall not permit the cost sharing described in paragraph (1) for any services delivered through tribal organizations. A State shall not permit cost sharing by a low-income older individual if the income of such individual is at or below the Federal poverty line. A State may exclude from cost sharing low-income individuals whose incomes are above the Federal poverty line. A State shall not consider any assets, savings, or other property owned by older individuals when defining low-income individuals who are exempt from cost sharing, when creating a sliding scale for the cost sharing, or when seeking contributions from any older individual.
Voluntary contributions shall be allowed and may be solicited for all services for which funds are received under this chapter if the method of solicitation is noncoercive. Such contributions shall be encouraged for individuals whose self-declared income is at or above 185 percent of the poverty line, at contribution levels based on the actual cost of services.
The area agency on aging and service providers shall not means test for any service for which contributions are accepted or deny services to any individual who does not contribute to the cost of the service.
Prior to the implementation of cost sharing under subsection (a), each State and area agency on aging shall develop plans that are designed to ensure that the participation of low-income older individuals (with particular attention to low-income older individuals, including low-income minority older individuals, older individuals with limited English proficiency, and older individuals residing in rural areas) receiving services will not decrease with the implementation of the cost sharing under such subsection.
Not later than 1 year after November 13, 2000, and annually thereafter, the Assistant Secretary shall conduct a comprehensive evaluation of practices for cost sharing to determine its impact on participation rates (with particular attention to low-income older individuals, including low-income minority older individuals, older individuals with limited English proficiency, and older individuals residing in rural areas). If the Assistant Secretary finds that there is a disparate impact upon low-income or minority older individuals or older individuals residing in rural areas in any State or region within the State regarding the provision of services, the Assistant Secretary shall take corrective action to assure that such services are provided to all older individuals without regard to the cost sharing criteria.
Nothing in paragraph (1) shall require a State to develop policies or guidance pertaining to policies established under this section.