State Medicaid laws, conflicting with federal Obamacare law, have created an odd scenario in which the estates of recipients of Medicaid can be tapped to repay medical expenses after their deaths. According to the Seattle Times, Medicaid has always sought to recoup costs from estates for nursing homes and long-term care, but has never attempted to recoup normal healthcare costs because most low-income adults without disabilities did not qualify.
But with Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults, all of that changes. The result is an odd system in which older people who have retired and end up in low-income brackets, despite the fact that they have assets. Medicaid recovery, then, ends up penalizing low-income adults with assets.
And it gets worse: Obamacare doesn’t give people a choice about whether to join Medicaid if they qualify. That’s because they can’t receive a subsidy for typical health insurance plans if they qualify for Medicaid.
Oregon has already attempted to correct the problem by doing away with the Medicaid estate clawback provisions. Washington Medicaid Director MaryAnne Lindeblad said that the state would attempt emergency measures to fix the situation as well.
But in the meantime, people in Washington are actually getting married to avoid the Medicaid restrictions.