Medicaid programs help those with limited resources and income connect with medical treatment. In Massachusetts, those who qualify for Medicaid will receive MassHealth benefits. Those living on a limited income or unable to work at all can count on MassHealth to cover the costs of their necessary medical care.
Even people who qualify for other kinds of coverage, like older adults who receive Medicare benefits, may need MassHealth benefits for more extensive costs. MassHealth covers things that Medicare does not, such as a stay in a nursing home.
Receiving those benefits when you need them can help you get the care you need even if you can’t pay for it yourself. Most people are very grateful for the benefits that they receive. However, what they may not realize is that the state will try to seek repayment for all of the benefits after they die.
When you die, your estate will face claims from MassHealth
Obviously, if someone is in a position of financial hardship and cannot pay their own bills, they are not in a position to repay the state for the medical care that they receive. MassHealth recipients can generally qualify for benefits even if they have valuable assets in their name, like a house.
Once a MassHealth recipient dies, anything in their name is vulnerable to claims by the state. The MassHealth estate recovery program will bring claims against the estate of a benefit recipient, up to and including claims against their primary residence. Those who don’t plan ahead to minimize which assets are vulnerable to estate recovery efforts may ultimately leave nothing for the people that they love, such as their children or their spouse.
Careful planning minimizes what you lose if you need Medicaid
People may decide against Medicaid planning because they don’t think they need to undertake the process. They might believe that they won’t need benefits or that if they do, they can qualify with ease.
What they fail to consider is that Medicaid planning is about not just getting benefits but minimizing the long-term impact of those benefits on your legacy and your loved ones. Thinking about the assets you have and the legacy you want to leave behind can help you determine if Medicaid planning is necessary for you.