Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News article] Little-known aspect of Medicaid now causing people to avoid coverage

From the 23 January 2014 Washington Post article

Add this to the scary but improbable things people are hearing could happen because of the new federal health-care law: After you die, the state could come after your house.

The concern arises from a long-standing but little-known aspect of Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health coverage to millions of low-
income Americans. In certain cases, a state can recoup its medical costs by putting a claim on a deceased person’s assets.

after the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory for most people to carry health insurance, Oregon’s Medicaid office decided to change its approach because people scared about asset recovery were not signing up for coverage. New rules that took effect last year state that asset recovery now applies only to long-term care.

“We needed to take another look at heath insurance coverage from the point of view of it not being a public benefit that’s voluntary,” Mohr Peterson said.

Other states have taken a much more lax approach to asset recovery in the past, hesitant to target poor people whose only valuable asset might be the farm that has been in their family for generations. Experts say there are no good, recent national data on how asset recovery is applied, with states differing drastically and working on a case-by-case basis.

It wouldn’t make sense for a state to pursue a claim on the property of a new Medicaid recipient under the health-care law, said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

“There’s no way any state is going to see it as cost-effective or politically sensible to do that,” he said. “It’s a scare tactic.”

Still, when it comes to something as central to middle-class identity as a home and what people can pass on to their heirs, it is perhaps not surprising that some people are not taking any chances.

..

after the Affordable Care Act made it mandatory for most people to carry health insurance, Oregon’s Medicaid office decided to change its approach because people scared about asset recovery were not signing up for coverage. New rules that took effect last year state that asset recovery now applies only to long-term care.

“We needed to take another look at heath insurance coverage from the point of view of it not being a public benefit that’s voluntary,” Mohr Peterson said.

Other states have taken a much more lax approach to asset recovery in the past, hesitant to target poor people whose only valuable asset might be the farm that has been in their family for generations. Experts say there are no good, recent national data on how asset recovery is applied, with states differing drastically and working on a case-by-case basis.

It wouldn’t make sense for a state to pursue a claim on the property of a new Medicaid recipient under the health-care law, said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

“There’s no way any state is going to see it as cost-effective or politically sensible to do that,” he said. “It’s a scare tactic.”

Still, when it comes to something as central to middle-class identity as a home and what people can pass on to their heirs, it is perhaps not surprising that some people are not taking any chances.

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Read the entire article here

 

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January 24, 2014 - Posted by | health care | , , , ,

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