Ohio Medicaid collecting money from estates of dead recipients: 5 key takeaways from our investigation

The Dayton Daily News is investigating a state program that collects money from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients after they die — and how that impacts grieving families who are often unaware of the program until they get the bill.

Here are five key takeaways from our recent investigation in Medicaid Estate Recovery:

1. Ohio Medicaid collected $87.5 million in 2022 from Medicaid recipients’ estates after they died. The amount collected by the state has increased steadily from $40.6 million in 2017, totaling $366 million over that time period.

2. Ohio Medicaid collects more in estate recovery than most other states. A 2019 report found that the five states with the largest collections — Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin — account for 38.5% of all recoveries.

3. People can lose their homes. Collecting unpaid Medicaid funds from a deceased recipient often includes placing a lien on the person’s property after they die. One woman reporter Nick Blizzard interviewed was her father’s live-in caretaker for years before he died and now fears she’ll lose her home. A local attorney noted another similar case in Kettering happening now. “That happens on a regular basis,” said attorney Ted Gudorf.

4. Changes need to be made, according to local experts and advocates for the elderly. Issues include insufficient efforts to educate people about the program when they apply for Medicaid, and more exemptions for surviving family members facing hardship.

5. There are steps families can take to protect assets from Medicaid Estate Recovery, but people must be proactive and often it requires the help of legal experts. This story looks at options and a local group that works to help educate families about the program.

We are continuing to dig into this program and how it affects local people. If your family has been impacted by Ohio Medicaid Estate Recovery, please fill out our form below.

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