Medicaid, known as TennCare in Tennessee, may be able to take money from your estate after your death. There are specific rules to the process.
TennCare will only attempt estate recovery if you received long-term care services through its program.
A legal requirement
Federal law requires TennCare to recover expenses paid out for your care from your estate after your death. However, the law does provide exceptions. For example, if you can show undue hardship, TennCare will not conduct estate recovery. Undue hardship would be if your estate is the only income for your family, your sibling lived in your home one year prior to your admission to the medical facility, provided care to you in that one year and remained living in the home even after your admission or if you child lived with you for two years prior to your admission, provided you care during that time and remained in your home after your admission. If your sibling or child moves out of your home, then you cannot use those criteria to qualify for hardship.
Time of estate recovery
TennCare will attempt estate recovery according to state inheritance laws. Tennessee law states you must pay debts from the estate before distributing assets to heirs. TennCare is a debt to pay. So, it will receive payment prior to your heirs.
You can contact TennCare’s RFR Processing Unit to see if your estate will owe money after your death. Your estate will need to secure a release if no money is due, which your estate administrator can get through the RFP Processing Unit.