The Medicaid program is a need-based program that is jointly administered by the federal and state governments, and many senior citizens use it as a means for paying for nursing home care. Because the program is jointly administered, Medicaid rules and guidelines can vary from state to state. In Florida, certain costs of care provided by Medicaid during a recipient’s lifetime are subject to a recovery program. How does it work?
When a Medicaid recipient passes away, the Medicaid program becomes a creditor of his or her estate. The amount of Medicaid’s claim is equal to the amount paid on behalf of the recipient for services rendered after that person reached age 55.
Not all recipients are subject to recovery, though. If you are a Florida Medicaid recipient and you pass away leaving behind a spouse, a minor child, or a child who is blind or totally and permanently disabled – or if you pass away before reaching age 55 – then the Medicaid program will not file a claim against your estate. Also, if you own a home that passes to close relatives and is determined to be a homestead protected from your creditors, then the house would not need to be sold to pay back your Medicaid claim.
As with most government programs, there are many more rules that apply to Medicaid recovery in Florida. To find out how Medicaid recovery rules might affect you and your family, you should speak to a qualified estate planning attorney.