Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Surprise You've got to read the fine print Medicaid may not be an insurance program: it is a loan.

Since ObamaCare is driving premiums and deductibles up, more people are being thrust into Medicaid and they're shocked to find out that - after they die - their states can come after the assets they'd been planning to leave to their children.
This week, the Seattle Times told the story of Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, a Washington couple who had to dodge a bullet they found in ObamaCare's Medicaid 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. 
The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.
What this means is that, if you earn enough to qualify for a government-subsidized plan, the feds will help you pay for your coverage.  However, if you're income doesn't qualify, but you own a house and have some money in the bank, you're on your own.  You'll have to leverage those assets against a sneaky loan for the full amount of your care from age 55 on.
As for Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, they were actually forced to marry in order to bump their combined income up to the level that qualifies for a subsidy.
Prins, an artist, and Balhorn, a retired fisherman-turned-tango instructor, separately qualified for health insurance through Medicaid based on their sole incomes. 
But if they were married, they calculated, they could “just squeak by” with enough income to qualify for a subsidized health plan — and avoid any encumbrance on the home they hope to leave to Prins’ two sons. 
“We’re happy to be getting married,” Prins said last week. “Unfortunately not everyone has such an elegant solution to the problem.”
Considering that liberals spent the last decade screaming about "evil banks" offering "predatory loans," it's amazing that their favorite President has just implemented a healthcare scheme that buries an expansion of estate recovery in its fine print.  
OK, fine. It's not amazing. It's par for the course.
What is amazing is that even the far left loons at the Daily Kos recognize that this is a huge problem:
Those who enroll in Medicaid through the ACA Medicaid Expansion will find that there is no limit on the assets they can have, as long as their income is low enough to qualify.
Unfortunately, there is also no limit to the amount that can be billed against the Medicaid recipient's assets by the state. And Estate Recovery seeks a 100% payback of whatever each state determines are expenses they want to recover for. In other words, if you are 55-64, and depending on what state you are in and what services you use, Medicaid may not be an insurance program: it is a loan.
While it seems a lot of people are under the impression that Estate Recovery is only for long term care, this is not the case in many states. 

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