What Is MERP?
MERP, or the Texas Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, is designed to allow the state to recover Medicaid costs from a recipient's long-term care services. The program, passed into law in 2005, is compliant with federal law which outlines the criteria under which costs can be recovered. A Conroe elder law attorney can help you understand MERP, but the following is a general introduction to what it is and how it works.
What the Program Covers
MERP was implemented in order to address the burden being placed on states who provide Medicaid coverage to seniors who received assistance with long-term care costs. Because the expense of nursing care is rapidly exceeding $90,000, state resources were being exhausted. With MERP, the state can file a claim against the estate of a senior Medicaid recipient who received assistance for long-term care. This care includes: nursing care, hospital facilities and care, prescription drugs, etc.
Assets in an estate that are subject to MERP include the real and personal property of the recipient which is a part of probate. It should be noted that no assets will be attached during the lifetime of a surviving spouse, and that equity in real property will not be included if to do so would reduce the value to zero.
Exemptions from Claims
As your Conroe elder law attorney will tell you, MERP will not seek remuneration in certain circumstances. These include:
- A surviving child is under age 21.
- A child of the deceased couple is blind or totally disabled.
- The estate is valued at under a certain amount, currently $10,000.
- The assistance received totaled less than $3,000.
- If for a minimum of one year before the death of the surviving spouse unmarried children lived in the recipient's home.
Along with these exemptions, certain assets also will not be subject to attachment:
- Insurance policies
- IRAs and other retirement accounts
- Mutual funds
- Joint accounts with right of survivorship
It is also possible for beneficiaries to file a waiver if recovery through MERP would cause undue hardship.
If You Would Like More Information about MERP
If you would like to learn more about MERP or have questions about Medicaid or estate planning, call a Conroe elder law attorney who has both the dedication and experience to provide excellent service. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.