New Jersey expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, (ACA, also called Obamacare) causing terrific health coverage gains for its residents. One unfortunate byproduct of Medicaid expansion is Estate Recovery, which can be assessed against any Medicaid recipient over the age of 55. The purpose of estate recovery is to reimburse the State for Medicaid benefits provided, and typically the recovery is against assets that were excluded from consideration during the beneficiary’s lifetime (such as a residence)
For MLTSS recipients, the recovery is limited to nursing home or home and community-based services (HCBS) and ancillary services, but for ACA Medicaid recipients, all services, including hospital and doctor coverage, could be recoverable. The lien is placed against the assets in the estate of the deceased Medicaid recipient. The Executor of the Estate would need to pay back the lien from estate assets before distributing the remainder to the heirs of the deceased person. This can create an encumbrance against real property, for example.
Sen. Cryan has proposed a bill to conform ACA Medicaid Estate Recovery to MLTSS Estate Recovery. This is a welcome revision. People age 55 or older looking for coverage won’t have to think twice about being Medicaid eligible and using Medicaid for their basic healthcare needs. The New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law a Attorneys (NAELA) wrote in support of this bill and we look forward to its passage.
If this legislation is of interest to you, contact your legislators.
For legal advice concerning estate administration and problems with Medicaid liens, call us at 732-382-6070