Medicaid is the federal program that pays for specific nursing home expenses when a
patient's assets are depleted and they can no longer afford to pay for their care. However,
with the aging population and skyrocketing health care claims, Medicaid has cost more
than Congress ever anticipated, and they want to recover their expenses. Consequently,
the states that administer the program must make an effort to recover the money spent.
And the families of individuals who have benefited from Medicaid may find the
government knocking on their doors looking to recover its money. At the very least, a
claim could be filed against the estate.
Each state can use whatever means its legislature declares appropriate to collect the
money owed. And some have become very aggressive. For instance at least one state can
now put a lien on a surviving spouse's home that was owned jointly with a deceased
Medicaid recipient. When the survivor dies (or sells the home), the state would take its
share of the proceeds first.
In addition, the same state can immediately go after the life insurance proceeds that were
intended to benefit a surviving spouse. And to assure that decedents' debts are paid,
insurance companies must notify the state before death benefits are sent to the
What are the chances that the government will dig out from its budget problems and ease
up on chasing after Medicaid money? Nobody can predict this. Therefore, you need to
explore how to provide the money that you may need for long-term care expenses so that
your bills don’t come back and haunt your family.