Calif. governor vetoes bill to protect deceased Medicaid recipients’ assets
California Gov. Jerry Brown, citing budget concerns, has vetoed a bill that would have limited what the state could recoup for healthcare costs from the estates of dead Medicaid beneficiaries. As a result, some eligible lowerincome Californians may decide against signing up for the program, advocates worry.
The federal government requires states to recover funds from Medicaid beneficiaries age 55 and older for longterm-care services such as nursing home care. But California is one of a few states that collect for all medical care, including premiums paid to a health plan on behalf of a beneficiary from age 55 until he or she becomes eligible for Medicare at age 65.
A bill by Democratic state Sen. Ed Hernandez would have limited recovery from those 55 or older to what is required by federal law. It also would have prohibited asset recovery from surviving spouses of deceased beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, and require California to provide beneficiaries with a list of expenses subject to estate recovery.
“The current policy dissuades enrollment in Medi-Cal programs and at the end of the day really hurts lowincome families and seniors,” said Kevin Prindiville, executive director of the National Senior Citizens Law Center. “We are disappointed.”
One concern is that homeowners could conceivably lose their houses when a spouse dies because of Brown’s veto.