Medi-Cal Liens on Estate

The State of California has long maintained Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.

Under this program, persons with low income, can qualify for benefits should their annual income be equal to 138% of the federal poverty level. One unpleasant aspect of this program is the right for Medi-Cal to seek recovery for medical costs advanced upon the beneficiary’s death. In a recent Court of Appeal decision, a young woman had regrettably been involved in an accident, incurred permanent disability, had severe medical bills during her treatment, and ultimately passed on at the young age of 23.

Prior to her death, the young lady had obtained a settlement, the proceeds of which funded a special needs trust. The Court held that regardless of her age at death, the trust was obligated to pay Medi-Cal’s request for reimbursement.

Those with Medi-Cal who use it as their primary medical insurance would be well advised to discuss the impact of Medi-cal liens on their estates.