Medicaid is a needs-based program that helps people pay for necessary medical care that they can’t pay for themselves or that Medicare won’t cover. Generally, if someone can qualify for Medicaid insurance, they have low income levels and minimal personal assets.
However, someone’s domicile for primary residence does not count against them during the Medicaid application process. Even someone who owns a house with a seven-figure price tag can receive Medicaid benefits if their other assets and current income level meet state requirements. The state won’t expect you to sell or leverage your home to pay for care, especially if your age or medical condition prevents you from working.
It’s important for those who may eventually need Medicaid to cover their health care costs to understand that although their home does not count against them when they apply, the house where they live could be vulnerable after they die.
Medicaid will try to recover whatever it paid on your behalf
New York’s Medicaid estate recovery program will pursue claims against the estate of anyone who dies after receiving Medicaid benefits. They can seek reimbursement for the full amount paid on behalf of the Medicaid recipient.
The recovery program allows the state to claim any assets in someone’s estate, including their house. There are only a few situations in which they might defer taking action against someone’s home, and those situations involved family members living in the property before and after the Medicaid recipient’s death.
In most other scenarios, only careful Medicaid planning will ensure that someone’s assets aren’t at risk after they die. Understanding how Medicaid works and why Medicaid planning is important can help you preserve your legacy for the next generation.