Tags: obamacare | death | debt | bill

Obamacare Medicaid Enrollees May Face 'Death Debt' Bill

By Cynthia Fagen   |   Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 05:58 PM

Millions of Americans between 55 and 64 who qualify for Medicaid under Obamacare may still be unaware that states can seize their assets after they die to pay off their "death debt," Fox News reported Thursday.

Tom Gialanella, 56, of Bothell, WA. qualified for Medicaid under Obamacare. But because he is a home owner and had money in the bank, he told Fox News he wouldn’t sign up for the government's free health care because essentially it's not free.

"It's supposed to be a safety net program. It's not supposed to be for someone who has assets who can pay the bill," he said.

The Department of Health and Human Services' Estate Recovery Program requires states to seek reimbursement of payments for nursing homes, long-term care facilities, prescription drug services and other health care costs, as a way to keep from going broke.

With the new expanded Medicaid program under Obamacare, more people between 55 and 64 could end up being susceptible, according to Fox News.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the state's Medicaid authority, Apple Health, are planning to introduce an emergency measure to limit estate recovery to long-term care, such as nursing homes and not regular health benefits.

But there are ways to get around the recovery program. According to the Medicaid.gov website, states cannot recover costs from the spouse of a deceased Obamacare enrollee or their children under the age of 21, or if disabled at any age or if it causes undue hardship on families.

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group opposed to the Affordable Care Act, told The Washington Times, "People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance. They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have."

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