If you are a low-income senior in Connecticut, you can use a combination of Medicare and Medicaid to pay for your long-term care. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 allows states to try to recoup money spent on that care after the person dies.
The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
Once a senior dies, the state can try to recoup expenses paid for a senior from any assets left in their estate. In Connecticut, elder law says the state will only try to seek assets handled by the probate court. Therefore, the state will not attempt to recoup money from beneficiary designations, living trusts, joint accounts with rights of survivorship or transfer on death registrations.
Property affected by the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
One area that can be affected by the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program is home ownership. If a couple owns a home jointly, consider putting the house in the name of the person living in the community if either party must live in a nursing home. Then, the state cannot try to force the home’s sale as long as the person living in the community outlives the one being institutionalized. If this step is not done or the community spouse dies first without the home having a transfer upon death title, the state can try to get money from the home’s sale. The look-back law requiring the person not to have sold or given away assets in the five years before receiving Medicaid does not apply to spouses.
Seniors and individuals who love them need to consider the implications of the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program when doing estate planning. Sometimes, the state may try to recover funds to pay for care when a person dies.