The Alabama Medicaid Agency is required to recoup funds it spends paying for health care for certain eligible individuals after those service recipients die. Those Medicaid recipients are:
- people who die in nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities or other medical institutions;
- persons who were 55 years of age or older when medical services were covered by Medicaid; and
- persons who had a special needs trust.
If any assets (real or personal property, bank funds, vehicles, cash, etc.) remain in the estate of those Medicaid service recipients, the agency will try to recover an amount of money up to what it spent for care.
When estate recovery is initiated by Medicaid, a letter is sent to family members from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program Recovery Unit in Irving, Texas. A questionnaire is provided to determine what the individual owned at the time of death. While the questionnaire may appear to be straightforward, care in completing is advised. Challenges to estate recovery may exist based on what is in the probate estate and whether the family qualifies for an undue hardship. Estate recovery may be delayed based on the status of the surviving family members. Legal advice is recommended to assure that family members know their rights.