With 25 states plus the District of Columbia opting to accept expanded Medicaid, however, the risk has now become very real. If the insured falls below the expanded income requirement, and has no other way to acquire health insurance (and isn’t willing to pay the penalties), they will be forced into Medicaid.
Unlike the old Medicaid means-testing provisions which included a very minimal asset threshold ($2,400), the expanded program no longer contains asset-testing.
Millions of people with with low income but potentially significant assets are now at risk at the ‘paper tiger’ being a roaring lion, to the tune of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars against an individual’s estate.
Dr. Jane Orient, the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, put the risk/reward tradeoff succinctly. “People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance. They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”
ACA: Doing Nothing Constitutes the Biggest Risk of All
The well-publicized problems with the roll-out of ACA have already given the new law a black eye. Less publicized, but far more worrisome is the personal wealth of Americans being liquidated or even seized by the government to settle expenses claimed by Medicaid — bills that could certainly give the estate a big dose of the wrong kind of medicine altogether.
The politicians will need to fix this provision, and fast, lest consumer confidence completely falls through the floor. As George Washington once said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
DeLong, James V. Maybe We Should Spend More on Healthcare. (2009). The American. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Terry, Ken. Health Spending Hits 17.3 Percent of GDP in Largest Annual Jump. (2010). CBS News. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Adlemann, Bob. Another ObamaCare Surprise: Estate Recovery. (2013). The New American. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Ostrom, Carol. Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death. (2013). The Seattle Times. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Obamacare Facts. Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. (2013). Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Ham, Marie Katharine. Fine print: State can seize your assets to pay for care after you’re forced into Medicaid by Obamacare. (2013). Hot Air. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Gregory, Paul Roderick. Virtual Insurance: How ObamaCare Saves 30 Million From Being Uninsured While Leaving 30 Million Without Coverage. (2013). Forbes. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
O’Donnell, Jayne and Akinnibi, Fola. How many pages of regulations are in the Affordable Care Act? (2013). USA Today. Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Brainy Quote. Government Quotes. (2013). Accessed on December 31, 2013.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.