Massachusetts Medicaid is called MassHealth
Massachusetts Governor Baker’s FY2017 budget proposes a significant amendment to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 118E to expand the types of property the Commonwealth can seek reimbursement for Medicaid a/k/a MassHealth benefits paid on behalf of certain deceased MassHealth recipients. Expanded estate recovery, as described in Outside Section 11.
- Under current law, the Commonwealth can be reimbursed for MassHealth coverage of nursing home care and community based care provided to persons age 55 and over, from property in the recipient’s probate estate. Federal law requires state Medicaid agencies to file claims against probate estates. Federal law does not mandate recovery against non-probate assets.
- Similar legislative changes have been rejected twice by the Legislature.
- The Governor proposes to dramatically expand the MassHealth asset recovery by allowing claims against any property in which the decedent had any legal title or interest immediately prior to death.
- This would expand the pool of assets from which the Commonwealth could seek reimbursement to the decedent’s interest in jointly owned personal and real property, property in which the decedent held only a life interest, and possibly even to property held in a trust of which the decedent was a beneficiary during life.
- The administrative costs for expanding estate recovery could be astronomical for MassHealth, potentially outweighing the benefits to the program.
What this Means To You:
- If enacted into law, Medicaid planning as it has been known and performed and understood in Massachusetts will be forever changed.
- Ambiguities in the statute language may create questions of law as to what assets may be included in expanded estate recovery, creating possible issues with real estate titles and title insurance claims.
- Existing estate plans and new estate plans will need to be reviewed to understand the impact of the potential new change on each individual and couple’s plans.
Want To Lean More?
Contact our office for a consultation to discuss how this may impact you and your estate plan.