Medicaid is a very important benefit program for those with significant medical needs and need long term care. Many people who expect to depend on Medicare in their golden years actually end up needing Medicaid benefits instead.
Medicare, the insurance program available for retirees, doesn’t cover all of the expenses people incur as they age. Some people find that Medicaid benefits are necessary to cover the costs of a stay in a skilled nursing facility.
Qualifying for Medicaid requires a review of your finances, as it is a needs-based program. You have to have very low income and limited assets. Some people don’t realize that even if they qualify for benefits, Medicaid expects to get paid back for all of those benefits after they die.
Estate recovery is a mandatory process for Medicaid programs
Federal Medicaid rules require every state to have a Medicaid recovery program. These programs must seek reimbursement for benefits when doing so will no longer cause hardship to the beneficiary to keep the costs of this state insurance as low as possible.
These programs frequently bring claims against the estates of Medicaid beneficiaries after they die. In theory, Medicaid can seek repayment for the full value of any care that the program covered. That could mean sending your estate a bill for years of nursing home care.
Planning ahead to qualify for Medicaid can help you protect your assets so that you leave some inheritance to your loved ones.