This article is a section taken from Medical Assistance (MA), a part of the revisions and additions to the Minnesota Health Care Program Eligibility Policy Manual.

Medical Assistance (MA) Estate Recovery

Medical Assistance (MA) estate recovery is a program that the federal government requires the State of Minnesota to administer to receive MA funds. County agencies, on behalf of the state, assert MA claims against the estates of deceased MA enrollees, or the estates of the enrollees’ spouses, to recover the amount MA paid for certain services described in state and federal law.

MA estate recovery procedures are found in the MA estate recovery manual.

Recoverable Services

The following program services are subject to estate recovery:

  • MA

    • The following MA services received by enrollees 55 years old or older who do not permanently reside in a medical institution:

      • Nursing facility services (NFS)

      • Home and community-based services (HCBS)

      • Hospital and prescription drug services received during the time the enrollee was provided NFS or HCBS

    • All MA services received by enrollees, regardless of age, who permanently reside in a medical institution

  • General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC)

  • Alternative Care (AC) services received on or after July 1, 2003

Generally, all these program services fall under the definition of “MA” for estate recovery purposes.

Recoverable Assets

County agencies may recover against the following assets from the estate of an MA enrollee or from the estate of an MA enrollee’s surviving spouse:

  • the person’s probate estate;

  • all of the person’s interests or proceeds of those interests in real property the person owned as a life tenant, or as a joint tenant with a right of survivorship, that were established on or after August 1, 2003, and were owned at the time of the person’s death;

    • Recovery on a life estate is limited to the value of the person’s interest on the date of death as determined by the Life Estates Mortality Table.

  • all of the person’s interests or proceeds of those interests in securities the person owned in beneficiary form at the time of the person’s death, to the extent the interests or proceeds of those interests become part of the probate estate;

  • all of the person’s interests in joint accounts, multiple-party accounts, and pay-on-death accounts, brokerage accounts, investment accounts, or the proceeds of those accounts at the time of the person’s death to the extent the interests become part of the probate estate; and

  • assets conveyed to a survivor, heir, or assign of the person through survivorship, living trust, or other arrangements.

Exceptions to Estate Recovery

Recovery on an estate claim is delayed when one or more of the following people survive an MA enrollee:

  • A spouse

  • A child younger than age 21

  • A child of any age who is blind or totally and permanently disabled according to Supplemental Security Income program criteria

Certain income, resources, and property of American Indians and Alaska Natives are exempt from estate recovery. More detailed limitations on claims are provided in the MA Estate Recovery Manual.

Legal Citations

Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.15
United States Code, title 42, section 1396p

CREDIT: The content of this post has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota Healthcare Programs Eligibility Policy Manual, originally published by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Healthcare Eligibility Policies.