Court rules Oregon overstepped in efforts to recover costs for Medicaid beneficiaries

Dive Brief:

  • A state rule allowing the government in Oregon to recover assets from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients spouses was recently invalidated by an Oregon Supreme Court decision, the Portland Business Journal reports.  

  • Oregon collected around $10 million per year as a result of the 2008 rule, but it may have to repay that money to family members affected by the rule, according to an Oregon Public Broadcasting report.

  • Federal laws require states to make attempts at recouping certain medical costs from the estates of Medicaid beneficiaries, but some states seek repayment beyond what is federally mandated.

Dive Insight:

Oregon is not the only state loosening rules that allow governments to target the estates of Medicaid recipients to repay medical costs. In the past year, legislators in at least two other states have done so.

In California, the Medicaid “Estate Recovery Program” had allowed the state government to seek posthumous payment for a broad range of medical costs. However, state legislation that went into effect on January 1 limits recovery efforts to costs primarily related to nursing home care, according to California Healthline.

Efforts to recover medical costs for Medicaid beneficiaries became a problem in Minnesota after Medicaid expansion was implemented, the Duluth News Tribune reported. State legislators there passed a bill that limits the effect that estate claims had on property owners.

Rules allowing the government to make claims against estates to recover medical costs did not become apparent in Minnesota until after Medicaid expansion. While it is not clear if these issues are present in other states, it is possible that legislators or courts elsewhere follow in the footsteps of Oregon, Minnesota, and California.

Filed Under: Policy & Regulation