Americans who do not have employer-based coverage have to accept Medicaid coverage in order to comply with the Obamacare individual mandate, or pay full price for the skyrocketing premiums from private-sector insurers.
People often confuse Medicaid with Medicare, but there is a critical difference between the two programs. Medicare eligibility derives from Social Security contributions, and is a true “entitlement” program. Theoretically, coverage comes as part of the funds paid into the system, although in reality the federal government has to borrow billions of dollars to cover the costs.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state-based and federally-subsidized welfare program, one that employs means-testing – which includes ownership of assets as well as income levels. Medicaid programs include conditions that put recipients’ assets remaining after death at risk for seizure to reimburse taxpayers who footed the bill for the recipient’s health care during his/her lifetime.
This was done to prevent fraud, to ensure that limited resources went to the truly needy, and to recapture resources to cover future costs. Until now, though, Medicaid was a voluntary program, and the vast majority of people who entered into it had few assets to risk by signing up.
Here’s where the law of unintended consequences comes into Obamacare. Thanks to the exchange programming, consumers are getting enrolled in Medicaid whether they understand what that means or not, and in much greater numbers than before. (In the first month, nearly 90 percent of all the enrollees in the federal and state exchanges were Medicaid applicants.)
Unless they look at the fine print in the paperwork in Washington and other states with similar asset-forfeiture regulations, any assets they own will not pass to their heirs but to the state instead.
Basically, if you own a home, and get subsidized healthcare, there a chance the government will repossess your home and other belongings after your death and your family will not receive any of it.