Within a few short weeks after the death of a patient who was receiving Medicaid, the Responsible Party in the case is going to receive a bill and a questionnaire from an outfit collecting for the State of Texas. In typical fashion, the bill is going to invite the Responsible Party, and the family of the decedent for that matter, to pony up and pay back the government for the care that the decedent received while on Medicaid. It is crucial that everyone who receives this bill understand that the bill is not owed by him or her, it is only owed, if it is owed at all, by the Probate Estate of the Deceased patient. They send the bill because they can, not because it must be paid.
The circumstances under which the government can invade an estate and obtain payment for Medicaid benefits paid out are very complicated and depend on facts existing at the time services are obtained, at the date of death, and at the time of the request for payment. Since Nursing Home personnel who are allowed to help with filing out an application are not allowed to advise a family about how to legitimately minimize estate recovery, self filed applications are typically more vulnerable to the Estate Recovery system.
Medicaid for the Elderly is an important benefit for many seniors facing the daunting challenge of a care bill exceeding several thousand dollars per month. While the program allows many assets to be ignored in calculating the $2,000 resource limit, almost all of those assets may be vulnerable to Medicaid estate recovery. Proper prior planning is an essential element in the Medicaid Benefits arena. Knowing the rules, is essential to playing the game.