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Will Medicaid lay claim to your estate and even your home?

Medicaid is a very important insurance program. Created by the federal government but managed by individual states, Medicaid provides needs-based health coverage to those who do not have private health insurance or whose health insurance leaves them unable to cover the costs of their medical care.

Many people in Connecticut will eventually need Medicaid in their golden years. Those who require skilled in-home nursing support or who must go to live in a nursing home could incur thousands of dollars a month in medical expenses that Medicare will not cover.

Those older adults can apply for Medicaid and receive benefits, but those benefits are not necessarily free. You can only qualify for benefits when you have a low income and minimal personal property. You can qualify despite owning your own home, but that does not necessarily protect your house from collection efforts later.

Medicaid estate recovery will demand full repayment

The federal government requires that every state operate an estate recovery program for Medicaid benefits. Whatever property you have in your name at the time of the death becomes your estate, and that estate is subject to claims by the creditors that you owe money at the time of your death, including the Connecticut Medicaid program.

Not only can Medicaid recovery efforts lead to the liquidation of your bank accounts and other valuable property, but they can compel your executor to sell your home or result in a lien against the property. These efforts can deprive your family members of the equity that you have spent a lifetime accruing in that home unless you plan ahead.

Medicaid planning can help you in two ways

If you plan ahead for Medicaid, there are two significant benefits that you can derive from that plan. The first is that you will have an easier time qualifying. The state often imposes a penalty on those who have recently transferred assets when they apply. By making such transfers years ahead of time, you can both protect your property and make it easier for you to get benefits at the time that you need them.

The second benefit is that you will have less risk of the state using up everything you leave behind when you die to replay the health care you received while on Medicaid. Learning more about the rules that govern Connecticut Medicaid benefits can help you plan to cover your care costs in your golden years.