Originally published December 19 2013
The big Medicaid lie exposed: Govt. to collect healthcare costs from your estate even after you die
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) There is yet another thing that your government didn't tell you about Obamacare and its subsequent expansion of Medicaid: If you enroll in the taxpayer-funded health coverage program through an Obamacare exchange, then, when you die, your estate will be taken by the government.
As reported by the Seattle Times:
It wasn't the moonlight, holiday-season euphoria or family pressure that made Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, suddenly decide to get married.
It was the fine print.
As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form - Balhorn's application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.
She was shocked: If you're 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you're dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.
Penalizing the poor in the end
Suddenly, the Prins no longer saw that obtaining their health insurance through Medicaid was going to be "free." Rather, it's more of a loan - one whose requirements to pay back premiums isn't very well advertised.
Not only that, the requirement is punitive, as most government mandates are: It penalizes folks who, though they may be poor, have managed to keep a house or accrue some savings they hoped to pass along to heirs.
In reality, Medicaid - in compliance with federal policy - has long recouped payouts via estates. But, because the majority of low-income Americans without disabilities couldn't otherwise qualify for typical medical coverage under Medicaid, "recovery primarily involved expenses for nursing homes and long-term care," the Times said.
Obamacare changed all of that by expanding Medicaid coverage to many more Americans.
In Washington state, lawmakers are hearing from distraught and angry constituents as they learn about the great government Medicaid recovery plan that no one told them about. In response, lawmakers are looking at what they can do to repair the clash of state rules with the Affordable Care Act:
[Recently], Gov. Jay Inslee's office and the state Medicaid office said they plan to draft an emergency rule to limit estate recovery to long-term care and related medical expenses.
They hope to be able to change the rules before coverage begins Jan. 1.
Fixing the problem will cost the state about $3 million a year, said Dr. Bob Crittenden, Inslee's senior health-policy adviser, but it's the right thing to do.
"There was no intent on the part of the ACA to do estate recovery on people going into Medicaid (for health insurance)," Crittenden said. "The idea was to expand coverage."
'People will think this is free'
The Times said residents in their 50s and 60s currently make up about 30 percent of adults who have signed up through the state's Obamacare exchange. Some residents 55-60 years old who have either taken early retirements or who became unemployed due to the recent recession have now found themselves in a low-income bracket. In the past, in order to qualify for Medicaid, applicants were required to reduce their assets; with the Obamacare expansion, however, now more recipients are better off and more likely to have homes and other assets.
Writing in The Washington Times, Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the politically conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, labeled the recovery provision "a cash cow for states to milk the poor and the middle class."
"People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance," Orient said in an interview. "They don't realize it's really a loan, and is secured by any property they have."
She went on to warn that even states that move to limit estate recovery can eventually change the rules again if they begin to have budget shortfalls.
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