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Expanded Medicaid Has Payback Requirements!

From the Seattle Times:

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death

As thousands of state residents enroll in Washington’s expanded Medicaid program, many will be surprised at fine print: After you’re dead, your estate can be billed for ordinary health-care expenses. State officials are scrambling to change the rule.

By Carol M. Ostrom | December 15, 2013

It wasn’t the moonlight, holiday-season euphoria or family pressure that made Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, suddenly decide to get married. It was the fine print.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

What an outrage. After all, after all, why shouldn’t ‘poor people’ be able to leave inheritances for their children like everybody else? Where is the social justice?

With an estimated 223,000 adults seeking health insurance headed toward Washington’s expanded Medicaid program over the next three years, the state’s estate-recovery rules, which allow collection of nearly all medical expenses, have come under fire.

Medicaid, in keeping with federal policy, has long tapped into estates. But because most low-income adults without disabilities could not qualify for typical medical coverage through Medicaid, recovery primarily involved expenses for nursing homes and other long-term care.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed that. Now many more low-income residents will qualify for Medicaid, called Apple Health in Washington state…

Prins, an artist, and Balhorn, a retired fisherman-turned-tango instructor, separately qualified for health insurance through Medicaid based on their sole incomes.

But if they were married, they calculated, they could “just squeak by” with enough income to qualify for a subsidized health plan — and avoid any encumbrance on the home they hope to leave to Prins’ two sons…

So they are getting married so that they will qualify for Obama-Care. So the taxpayers will be able to fully subsidize their healthcare, anyway. And their sons will still get their house. What a brilliant solution!

Over the past month, as lawmakers began hearing from worried and angry constituents, state officials began exploring what it would take to fix this collision of state rules with the ACA.

Late Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office and the state Medicaid office said they plan to draft an emergency rule to limit estate recovery to long-term care and related medical expenses.

They hope to be able to change the rules before coverage begins Jan. 1.

Fixing the problem will cost the state about $3 million a year, said Dr. Bob Crittenden, Inslee’s senior health-policy adviser, but it’s the right thing to do…

Absolutely! After all, it’s only (other people’s) money.

In Oregon, state officials changed estate-recovery rules last month. Recovery will no longer apply to health benefits for those 55 and over, the Oregon Health Authority said, although the state will collect expenses for long-term care…

And never mind that they are changing ‘The Law Of The Land.’

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Expanded Medicaid Has Payback Requirements!”

  1. mr_bill says:

    It “will cost the state about $3 million a year”. Just imagine all the liberal heads exploding if there was a tax reduction proposal that would “cost” (as the liberals love to say of tax cuts) the state $3 million a year. We’d have sob (or is it S.O.B.?) stories about how poor little children would starve, homes would burn, lawlessness would prevail, ‘teachers’ would be fired, cats and dogs living together…But, when they’re spending money instead of letting you keep what you earned, it’s really easy to justify it.

    • GetBackJack says:

      In the past I would have bet anything the reach of the IRS does not extend into the Hereafter. Given the string based quantum physics from Michio Kaku and Kardashev I’ve been studying lately I may have to re-examine that opinion.

  2. canary says:

    Wow now they only have to pay $76 a month for a silver plated plan and keep their tax credit

    “Sunday, they made a big fruit salad, dressed in tango clothing and were married in their home. Afterward, they danced to their favorite tango music and toasted each other with orange juice and a dash of cranberry.”

    With the deductible perhaps they should give up tango dancing, but with a big nice house like that with wooden floors, they probably have home insurance for daddy’s tango students.

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