State Medicaid Officials Seize Dead Recipient’s Homes

Many Americans are shocked when the government aggressively targets the estates of deceased family members to pay for long term nursing care, but that’s exactly what Medicaid is doing. 

The home is normally excluded from the qualification process for Medicaid. However, for those over 55 who utilized the program to fund long term care, their estates may be targeted by the recovery process to access funds spent by the program.

The Associated Press reported the case of Massachusetts resident Sandy LoGrande. Her father bravely fought cancer, and his daughters promised him that they would keep the house he worked hard to afford for them many years ago.

But that may only be a dream.

Salvatore LoGrande’s estate is targeted by state officials who billed his daughter $177,000 for his Medicaid expenses. The government threatened to sue to take possession of the home he left behind if the payment is not rendered in a timely manner.

Far from being an anomaly, what the 57-year-old now faces is a common plight for survivors of family members on Medicaid. 

People who relied on the program in their last years leave behind loved ones who are subject to recovery efforts by the taxpayer-funded health insurance program. 

Amazingly, this program was implemented back in 1993 with the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Congress made it a requirement for states to work to recover long term healthcare costs from Medicaid recipients 55 and older after they died.

This process was optional before being mandated 31 years ago.

Proponents claimed it would motivate people to plan for the possibility of long term care to avoid government confiscation of estates. Medicaid beneficiaries are generally allowed to have very little income and no more than $2,000 in assets.

However, the primary home and one vehicle are generally excluded from the eligibility process.

These assets, however, are now fair game after the recipient dies. This in many cases leaves survivors scrambling to keep the home that may have been in the family for generations. 

And research from AARP and others proved that less than 1% of long term care spending nationally comes from these recovery efforts. While they may be devastating for survivors, the estates offer little to fund long term healthcare through Medicaid.

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