Michael Gilfix Quoted in San Francisco Chronicle on Medi-Cal Estate Claims
Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) September 2, 2014 – Michael Gilfix was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding unexpected estate claims by Medi-Cal and the ways families can protect themselves.
On August 24, 2014, the Chronicle published an exposé on the recent expansion of Medi-Cal’s little-known estate recovery program. According to reporter Kathleen Pender, the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded the number of Medi-Cal recipients subject to estate recovery.
Medi-Cal has long conducted a limited program that allows it to claim and recover assets from the estates of some deceased Medi-Cal recipients. However, as Pender pointed out, the ACA’s expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility means that many more recipients over the age of 55 may be subject to Medi-Cal estate recovery. This will likely include a large number of older or retired Californians with well-structured estates but low incomes.
Michael Gilfix, an estate planning attorney and expert on Medi-Cal recovery issues, pointed out that some assets could be protected from such Medi-Cal recovery claims. “There are certain ways to transfer a home out of an estate, although this can raise tax issues,” he commented.
With recovery claims that can range from hundreds of dollars per month up to what Pender calls “unlimited amounts,” the Medi-Cal recovery program can blindside an unsuspecting family and devastate their estate plan. The amount that Medi-Cal claims in recovery is determined by the type of benefits that were received by the deceased person.
According to the Chronicle, there is currently a bill awaiting a vote in the California State Assembly that would roll back some, but not all, of Medi-Cal’s ability to make these estate claims. The bill has been passed by the Senate, but Pender claims that it is uncertain whether Governor Jerry Brown will sign or veto the bill.