Politics & Government
5:45 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Administration Hopes to Recover More Medicaid Money from Estates

Wisconsin may become more aggressive at pursuing the assets of people who were on Medicaid.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee gave the Walker administration permission on Wednesday, to enact new procedures. GOP Rep. John Nygren says they should help the state root-out fraud.

“If I’m able to shield my assets, pass them on to my kids, whatever the case may be, and then qualify for Medicaid, who’s paying at the end of the day? I’ve got a million dollars of assets that I’m able to divest, who ultimately is paying for that person’s long-term care needs? It’s the taxpayer,” Nygren said.

Several committee members, including Democrat Cory Mason, urged it to spend more time on the issue.

“I realize we have an aging population, and I realize that more and more people are going to need long term care but then we should have a thoughtful approach about how we’re going to address that issue, instead of figuring out ways to leave people, at the end of their lives, after they’ve lost a spouse or a loved one, financially destitute,” Mason said.

In the end, the committee did not give the Dept. of Health Services all the means it wanted to recover money. For example, there would still be ways for families to pass down businesses, including farms, and to protect money in trusts.

The rules were part of the new 2013-15 state budget, but needed budget committee approval, in order to be implemented.

According to a state report, Wisconsin has recouped about $9 million annually in Medicaid expenditures. Supporters of the changes say they'll put the state more in line with others.