Nothing is free, as they say; and neither is Medicaid, according to one shocked individual who received a bill from the state following the death of her mother. The mother had been getting elder care at her daughter’s home instead of at a nursing home and a year after her mother died, she discovered that Medicaid was charging her over $43,000.
The bill is claiming recuperation of funds from Medicaid since the mother owned a home. This is part of the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. Clients like this need to be aware that if an individual is receiving Medicaid, they run the risk of losing a home or other assets if the loved one has been getting Texas Medicaid.
In this case, the mother had received Medicaid Long Term Care, so the beneficiary was slapped with a notice of intent to file against the deceased’s estate. The state seeks to receive the monies that the Medicaid program paid for the care of the mother, in spite of the fact that the mother’s care was not at a nursing home. According to the new health care legislation, Medicaid has the right to recover all medical expenses including hospital services, prescription drugs and Medicare expenses covered by Medicare premiums.
The woman’s daughter is required to pay Medicaid back and the state is within its rights to appropriate the mother’s house. Any claims against the estate must be paid before any property can be distributed as specified in a will. While the state does not specify that an heir should sell a house to pay the bill, a lien may be applied or the bill can be paid through other means.
The processing is done via the Texas Medicaid Estate Recovery Contractor, who may state the amount sought will not exceed the estate’s value. If the estate is not worth anything, there would be nothing to recover.
Individuals in similar positions should investigate how to handle elder care in order to protect the estates and property our loved ones have worked a lifetime to achieve. Estate planning tips might include saving money to prepare for such emergencies, obtaining advice regarding Medicaid planning and preparing oneself for long-term elder care.
Source:yourhoustonnews.com, “TONI KING: What is the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program?” Toni King, Dec. 30, 2013