Federal government doesn’t like the idea but can’t stop it
By Nancy Metcalf
Thanks to the new health care law, millions more people now qualify for free health care under an expansion of the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, some of those people may end up having their homes seized by their state goverment after they die. Specifically, that risk applies to new Medicaid recipients 55 and older who live in 10 states: California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
Why? It goes back to an obscure federal law that allows states to pay themselves back for Medicaid benefits paid to some people after they die, drawing on the estates of those dead people. The law applies to everyone who gets Medicaid for nursing home care, but states have the option to extend it to all over-55 recipients of Medicaid—including, in the case of those 10 states, those taking advantage of the new expansion of benefits.
As the news of the threat of “estate recovery” has spread, some people are actually turning down Medicaid that they’re entitled to. “We’ve heard of people having their children pay full premiums for private insurance because they want to leave their houses to their kids,” Michelle Lilienfeld, senior attorney with the nonprofit National Health Law Program, said. Read the full article here. »