Letter: Medicaid warning

People between 55 to 64 years old signing up for Medicaid should understand the interaction between the “new” federal Affordable Care Act and existing state and federal Medicaid estate recovery laws before signing up to see their true risks.

Recently, I helped a friend with his Massachusetts Health/Medicaid application. He is 58 and coming onto Medicaid for the first time. He had a 20-year career, numerous jobs and was now retraining, yet under employed. He wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to lose his only asset, his home. But finding the answer for him wasn’t easy. Massachusetts Health representatives either did not understand estate recovery, or they gave us convoluted unintelligible answers and the booklet was unclear.

After several hurdles, we called the estate recovery office who told him that he was at risk yes. They will seize assets of any 55- to 64-year-old on Medicaid under ACA (Obamacare). Further questions revealed the unveiling of the program. Although he is required to take it, even if he never uses the insurance, he would still have to reimburse the program. Of course, we were told the state would wait ... until after death to collect. My friend and I then discovered on factcheck.org that Obama failed to modify the old federal Medicaid 1993 law when he expanded his Obamacare/ACA Medicaid program allowing this, and states can independently take the ethical road if they choose to amend their law, but Massachusetts chose not to. They see “cash cow,” not a struggling human being forced on a program stripped of life assets. Oregon and Washington have changed their state laws and will only continue long-term care reimbursement recovery costs. My friend has decided to try another option: move to Oregon.

JEANNETTE HURLBURT

Greenfield

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