Thursday, July 14, 2005

Change in WV M'caid Estate Recovery Practice?

An article by Sarah Lueck appeared June 24, 2005 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (apparently a reprint from the Wall Street Journal) about Medicaid Estate Recovery. Specifically the article focuses on how states are more aggressively pursuing estate recovery as one way to offset increasing Medicaid budgets.

The article claims that "West Virginia has made a notable about-face" from our 2000 Attorney General's lawsuit challenging the recovery mandate and the practice of only pursuing recovery in estates valued at $50,000 or more, to now going after estates as small as $5,000.

Though federal and state law in West Virginia have permitted recovery in estates valued between $5,000 and $50,000, the state Medicaid entity (the Bureau of Medical Services) has maintained a practice of not pursuing estates under $50,000. The state contracts with a Boston-based firm to handle recoveries of $50,000+ estates. If the article is correct in its assertion that the practice is changing, seniors who benefit from long-term care Medicaid (either in a nursing home or through home-based services) whose estates are between $5,000 and $50,000 need to be aware of the increased likelihood of recovery against their estates.

AARP's Public Policy Institute recently released a report which studies estate recovery practices across the nation. An article about the report appears in the Sumemr 2005 issue of the West Virginia Elder Advocacy Quarterly, available online at

Senior West Virginians age 60 and over may speak to an attorney at West Virginia Senior Legal Aid about long-term care Medicaid eligibility, transfers of assets, estate recovery, and planning generally by calling 1-800-229-5068.


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