Michigan Estate Recovery – not here…not yet?

In November of last year, the State of Michigan adopted a new estate recovery law. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, “estate recovery” is a term that describes the State’s ability to recover funds from people that have been approved to receive Medicaid benefits for nursing home care. For many Medicaid applicants this means that the State would have a right to file la lien against a Medicaid recipients estate. Primarily, the target of these recovery acts are the Medicaid recipients’ homes.

Following the enactment of the Deficit Recovery Act of 2006, the federal government made it clear that all states seeking funds for Medicaid programs needed to adopt an estate recovery statute. Seemingly, this provision targets Michigan, as it remained as the only state without such a law.

Michigan’s legislature slowly implemented such a law last year. The only remaining issue for it to be implemented was federal approval. At the end of October, we received word that the federal government rejected Michigan’s proposed estate recovery law. As a result, Michigan remains as the only state without an estate recovery law. For the time being, Medicaid applicant’s homes are safe.

What does this mean to those seeking Medicaid benefits for long term care? No one really knows for sure. Presently, the best advice is to consult with an elder law attorney in Michigan to discuss your options if you or a family member are facing long term care decisions.