Medicaid is a sustained program in the United States that provides health care services to low-income families. If you cannot afford good healthcare services, you can apply for Medicaid. The federal and state governments provide the funds for this program.
However, the services you enjoy under Medicaid are valuated. You are expected to pay back after a certain period of time.
So, what happens when you die and you have not paid back? Will your house be taken? Will your car be taken? Can Medicaid take your car after you die?
It is not possible for Medicaid to take your car after you die because Medicaid doesn’t count assets such as a car in their estate recovery program as they are called non-countable assets.
What Does Medicaid Stand for?
Medicaid is simply a term for a public health insurance program in the United States for people that earn a low income. According to some studies, one in five American citizens benefits from Medicaid.
A lot of these beneficiaries have a lot of needs that need to be taken care of. Medicaid is designed to take care of its beneficiaries for a long time seeing as it is their main source of care.
Many of the people that enroll in Medicaid do not have access to basic health care services. Medicaid provides health care services for these people, thereby making it a very expensive program for the government.
In the United States, Medicaid accounts for one-fifth of the personal health care budget.
The entire sector of health care benefits from Medicaid. Hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, public health care homes, doctors, nurses, and other medical employees benefit from the program.
The agency in charge of implementing this program is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It is housed in the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS). You can visit the official Medicaid website for more information.
Can Medicaid Take Your Car After You Die?
Medicaid may not take ownership of your car after you die because a car is a noncountable asset which Medicaid doesn’t count as part of their estate recovery program.
Therefore, you don’t need to be afraid of Medicaid taking your car when you die and making it impossible for your child or relation to be driving the car after you must have gone.
However, the costs of Medicaid services you enjoy are expected to be paid back eventually. And so, if you die and you have not paid back the specified amount, your assets can be taken by the Medicaid Recovery team.
How to Avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery
Medicaid provides assistance to pay for really costly healthcare costs. A lot of elderly people in the United States who need long-term care are covered by the Medicaid program.
It is important to note that if you do not plan for the program well, your home might be seized after you die. This act is called Medicaid Estate Recovery. But if you plan for the program well, you can avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery.
As much as this program is designed to alleviate the burden of beneficiaries, Medicaid expects the money to be paid back with time. The enforcement of the payback is done by the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP).
In the event that the beneficiary passes away, Medicaid Estate Recovery Program can seize the estate of the person.
This can be a huge loss to the family of the person because an estate usually serves as an inheritance for the rest of the family.
When applying for Medicaid, the assets of the individual are taken into account. Assets are divided into countable and non-countable.
A Medicaid applicant should have no more than $2,000 in countable assets. Houses and cars are counted as non-countable assets though.
What this implies is that an applicant can have a house and still apply and be qualified for Medicaid. Certain ways to avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery are the use of Medicare and gifting the house to people.
The use of Medicare
As much as they seem similar in pronunciation, they are quite different in processes. Medicare is the major health insurance policy for elderly people (age 65 and above). Why do many people apply for Medicare?
Medicare pays for some skilled nursing care. Medicare pays for up to 100 days of admittance in a skilled nursing care facility.
But if the period of admittance exceeds 100 days, you will need to apply for Medicaid. But nonetheless, the use of Medicare is an option to avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery.
Gifting the Home
If you do not want your estate taken by Medicaid Estate Recovery, you can gift the home to your children before you apply for Medicaid. What this means is that the home is not yours and the agency cannot seize your home after you pass away.
Paying back Medicaid benefits can be an arduous task at times. It is useful for you to plan for the program very well before you embark on it. You can employ the services of a Medicaid Attorney.
Do You Have to Pay Back Medicaid Benefits?
Yes, with time you will be required to pay back the benefits you got from Medicaid. That is how it works. There is a policy in place to recover the costs of Medicaid benefits. In the event that you pass away, your home or car can be taken by the agency.
Before you apply for Medicaid, you should have done proper planning. Ensure you have all the necessary plans in place to pay back. Do not apply if you do not have a payback plan in place.
Pros of Medicaid
Medicaid has proved to be very useful and beneficial for many citizens and their families. Some of the benefits are listed below:
1. Improved Access to Health Care
Researchers have studied and arrived at the conclusion that less-privileged people in some states in the United States have better access to health care services after the formation of Medicaid.
They had access to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and many more. Periodic screenings, treatments, diagnoses, etc were provided to these beneficiaries of Medicaid.
2. Reduced Unpaid Health Care Costs
The uncompensated health care costs of hospitals reduce when the uninsured rate of a state reduces. They move hand in hand.
A study showed that between 2013 and 2017, the uncompensated health care costs reduced as the uninsured rate of a state reduced.
This is due to the expansion of Medicaid. A lot of uninsured citizens subscribed to the program and now they have health insurance.
3. Increase in Financial Security
Due to health care costs that are borne by Medicaid, the money that should have gone towards paying hospital bills can now be used for other activities. In the long run, the financial security of individuals and families is assured.
4. Overall Improvement in Health Lifestyle
Medicaid has saved the lives of a lot of people in recent years. By making health care accessible to them, they are able to get treatment for their ailments, they can go for check-ups, and drugs are now available to them.
This reduces the spread of some diseases as well and in the long run, it reduces the death rate.
5. Increase in Health Coverage
Medicaid has made health care available to many people nowadays. They now have access to medical services.
6. Combating COVID-19
A very important benefit of Medicaid is in combating the spread of COVID-19. States that had Medicaid in place in 2020 were able to respond adequately and quickly to the emergence of COVID-19. It prevented severe health outcomes, loss of financial security, economic meltdown, and many more.
On the other hand, states that did not have Medicaid in place were greatly affected. Why? People who had the symptoms could not get treatment. Medical personnel was not able to treat the patients. This was a serious setback for many states in 2020.
Cons of Medicaid
As much as there are a lot of benefits of Medicaid, there are disadvantages as well. Some of the disadvantages of Medicaid are also outlined here:
- Not Everyone Qualifies for Medicaid: Although Medicaid is designed to provide health care services to low-income families in the state, not everyone can qualify for this benefit. Many states have criteria for selecting beneficiaries.
- Low-quality Treatment for Emergency Patients: In some emergency treatment, people covered by Medicaid might not be provided the full services. This is because Medicaid covers mostly the basic services alone.
- Cases of Discrimination: It is not uncommon to see elderly people being stereotyped by nurses and other healthcare professionals. They tend to see them as the poorest of the poor. This is unhealthy stigmatization and will affect the beneficiaries of Medicaid unfairly.
- Not All Services are Covered by Medicaid: People who benefit from Medicaid might be denied some essential medical services because some health care workers see it as unnecessary for them.
Medicaid is a useful program that low-income individuals and families should take advantage of. But do NOT apply for the program if you do not have a plan or means of paying back. This will leave your assets at risk of being taken by the agencies in charge.