Elder Law And Medicaid Estate Recovery: How Does It Work?
It is critical to plan ahead for Medicaid coverage for nursing home care given the very high costs. The New York State Department of Financial Services reports that nursing home care in downstate New York costs approximately $340 per day. That’s more than $10,000 per month! Over the course of a year, the average price of nursing home care in the Westchester County area is more than $124,000! Most older adults do not have disposable income that allows them to pay these types of costs. As a result, most seniors need to rely on Medicaid for coverage so that they do not immediately spend a lifetime’s worth of savings for a limited amount of time in a nursing home. To plan for this type of coverage, many seniors and their families work with an elder law and asset protection lawyer.
Yet, in addition to planning for nursing home and long-term care costs, it is critical to learn more about Medicaid estate recovery and how Medicaid can attempt to recover the costs it has paid for long-term care after an older adult passes away. What do you need to know about Medicaid asset recovery in New York?
Learning More About Medicaid Estate Recovery
What is Medicaid estate recovery? In short, when Medicaid pays for long-term care services for a person and that person dies, Medicaid can try to recover the money paid from the deceased’s estate. According to New York law, “Medicaid provided on or after age 55, or when permanently residing in a medical institution, may be recovered from the assets in your estate upon your death.”
The law defines a person’s estate as “all of a decedent’s real and personal property and other assets passing under the terms of a valid will or by intestacy, and any other real and personal property and other assets in which the decedent had any legal title or interest at the time of death, including such assets conveyed to a survivor, heir, or assign of the decedent through joint tenancy, tenancy in common, survivorship, life estate, living trust or other arrangement, to the extent of the decedent’s interest in the property immediately prior to death.
According to New York law, Medicaid estate recovery is deferred during the lifetime of a Medicaid recipient’s surviving spouse, or during the lifetime of a disabled child. There are some other situations in which estate recovery may also be deferred.
Proposed Legislation Aims to Change Medicaid Asset Recovery Laws
You may be able to avoid Medicaid estate recovery by making asset protection plans with an experienced lawyer. Assets contained in certain types of trusts, for example, cannot be recovered by Medicaid. It is also possible that changes to the law could be coming.
Recognizing the harms associated with Medicaid estate recovery, newly proposed legislation aims to prevent Medicaid from recovering assets for benefits paid. The proposed legislation is known as the Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act of 2022 (H.R. 6698). In summary, the bill “prohibits state Medicaid programs from using estate recovery to recoup the costs of benefits.” The bill has been introduced, but its likelihood of passing may be slim.
Contact a Pleasantville or Mahopac Elder Law and Asset Protection Attorney
If you have questions about elder asset protection or ways of avoiding Medicaid estate recovery, you should get in touch with one of the experienced Pleasantville elder law and asset protection attorneys at Meyer & Spencer, PC today.