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Could Medicaid Payback Rules Come to an End?

Amid recent reports from such prominent news outlets as The New York Times and Associated Press about the negative impact of Medicaid estate recovery on families, the idea of ending this practice altogether has resurfaced.

Federal law requires that states attempt to recover the funds they had paid out for a Medicaid recipient’s medical care during their lifetime. This might include any costs that have accrued for nursing facility services, prescription drugs, or other medical or long-term care. The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program specifically affects Medicaid long-term care recipients who had reached age 55 or older.

In March 2024, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) reintroduced legislation, the Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act, proposing to end Medicaid estate recovery altogether. The bill would prevent states from placing liens on the homes of Medicaid recipients while helping to improve access to long-term care services.

According to the recent story in the Times, one nonpartisan agency cited that, for fiscal year 2019, most states recouped less than 1 percent of what they had spent on Medicaid long-term care benefits.


If you have questions, give us a call at (605) 275-5665. We can assist you in planning for your future and guide you in making the best possible decisions. This might include strategizing about when and how to apply for Medicaid or looking for ways to protect your assets.