Will My Estate Pay MassHealth?

Yes, your estate might pay MassHealth for services after you die.

Under federal law, states must try to recoup the costs of nursing home care as well as other services for people over age 55. States may also recoup costs for other Medicaid services.

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In Massachusetts, MassHealth can recover money from the estate of anyone who has been permanently institutionalized, regardless of age. MassHealth can also recover money for all services given to those over 55. It may not take money if there is a surviving spouse, a minor child, or a child who is disabled.

To recoup expenses, the state may put a lien on the patient’s home. It would then recoup money upon the sale of the home. This will not be done if the patient’s adult child who would otherwise inherit the property lives there and is low-income.

MassHealth was created to be a source of last resort. It was designed for individuals who cannot otherwise afford their own health insurance. The ability of MassHealth to recoup money from an estate keeps people from hiding their assets or leaving them to family members at the same time as benefitting from taxpayer financed health insurance. Allowing MassHealth to recoup some of its costs from the estates of its insured helps to keep its costs sustainable.