Medicaid and Estate Recovery

~ By Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. ~
Medicaid is a federal medical assistance program for low-income persons who are elderly, blind or disabled, which is administered by the state.   To qualify for Medicaid, an application must be made with your County Department of Human Services.  Nursing home residents apply in the county in which the nursing home is located.  You must be medically eligible and you must meet income and asset limitations to qualify for Medicaid.  Income limits change annually and generally follow SSI income rules.  As of  July 1, 2017 the income limit is $2,206.00.  The Medicaid applicant’s total resources may not exceed $2,000.  Some property does not count as a resource, it is exempt.  Examples of exempt resources are your residence, your car, irrevocable pre-paid burial plans and $1,500.00 of life insurance.  If the Medicaid applicant is married, the spouse of the Medicaid applicant is entitled to keep some of the joint assets, and his or her own assets.  

In Colorado, Medicaid covers most necessary medical services, including hospital, nursing home, physician, prescriptions, medical supplies and equipment.  In addition, some home services may be provided by Home and Community Based Services programs for specific groups.
To apply for Medicaid, you must have proof of your identity and verify your income, resources, age and disability, if any.  You should bring the following documents with you when making an application:  proof of all income (social security eligibility letters); bank statements; copies of deeds for all real estate owned by you; copies of life insurance policies; your drivers’ license; Medicare and social security cards.  You may be asked to supply other information to verify the information on the application.  Once you turn in part A of your signed application, you have an application date which will be used to process your application and if you are approved, services will be covered back to that date.  It will take several months to process your application.  
Under the Colorado Estate Recovery Program, the state of Colorado may recover Medicaid expenditures from the Medicaid recipient’s estate after his or her death.  Under this program, the state may file a claim against an individual’s estate, including a lien on the home.  No action is taken against the property while the recipient or his or her spouse is still living.  The home may be protected from recovery if a surviving spouse or dependent child remains living in the home after the recipient’s death.  It is important to consult with an elder law attorney concerning these provisions since they are complex and subject to change.
Tamra K. Waltemath

Tamra K. Waltemath

This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C.  This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney.

Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships.  She can be contacted at:  Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO  80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at:

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