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Attorney for Medicaid Estate Recovery in Louisiana

Exploring the Process of Medicaid Estate Recovery in Louisiana

Estate recovery is a state's backdoor approach to offsetting expenses it paid for a Medicaid recipient's nursing home care by making claims against the estate of the patient. In Louisiana, the claim is typically asserted against the heirs of the Medicaid recipient after his or her death in the form of a letter from the Louisiana Department of Health—Bureau of Health Services Financing notifying the heirs or the estate representative that the Department intends to collect the amount (often hundreds of thousands of dollars) Medicaid paid for nursing home expenses. This can be a scary letter that needs to be treated seriously and acted upon quickly, as important deadlines may bar any defenses to the estate recovery if they are not asserted in a timely fashion. If you get such a letter, contact a Certified Medicaid Planner immediately to prevent the loss of valuable assets.

Typically, the recovery is against the home of the Medicaid recipient, as that is usually the sole asset remaining after the nursing home patient qualified for Medicaid. Fortunately, Louisiana allows a number of defenses to the recovery claim, but you need a lawyer like Gary Brown to assert the defenses.

The rationale behind estate recovery is that in exchange for Medicaid eligibility, a Medicaid recipient agrees to be bound and subject to any estate recovery rules in effect. The amount paid by the state for nursing home care accumulates as a debt to the recipient and sometimes the recipient's spouse. Rather than a true government entitlement program, the Medicaid long-term care benefit program is more akin to a government loan program, with the state eager to collect once a patient dies.

However, federal law requires the states to establish procedures under which a state agency can waive recovery if the agency determines that recovery against the patient's estate assets would result in undue hardship. The states also have complicated exceptions that excuse estate recovery against some Medicaid recipients' estates. Gary Brown has been successful in protecting estates and heirs from the State of Louisiana's attempts at Medicaid estate recovery, so if you get a Notice of Medicaid Estate Recovery letter, act fast and contact our firm immediately by calling 504-313-6086.

Louisiana Rules on Estate Recovery

  • Governing Law - The statutory authority of Louisiana's estate recovery program is LSA-R.S. 46:153.4.
  • Estate Scope - Recovery is strictly limited to the succession estate of the patient. Recovery is prohibited if it is not cost effective, and the first $15,000 or one-half of the median value of the homesteads in the parish of the deceased, whichever is greater, is fully excluded from recovery. Louisiana also provides an offset to recovery by reducing recovery by reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the patient's heirs after the patient's admission to the long-term care facility in order to maintain the patient's homestead.
  • Hardship Waiver - Louisiana statutorily prohibits the Department of Health from recovering in the case of undue hardship. A statutory presumption of undue hardship exists if an heir's family income is 300% or less of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are published annually in the Federal Register. There are also other conditions that would potentially give rise to undue hardship.

It is important to note that even if these conditions that would prevent estate recovery exist, it is up to the estate representative or the heirs to assert these defenses to estate recovery. The onus or responsibility for using the rules that allow a patient's heirs or estate representative to protect the estate is on the heirs or representative to be proactive. The state will not do it itself. That is why it is so important to get representation immediately if you face a situation involving Medicaid estate recovery. Contact Gary Brown; he can almost always help to prevent estate recovery.

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