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What adults need to know about Health First Colorado benefits

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2022 | Medicaid & Medicare |

Health First Colorado is the Colorado Medicaid program. It helps provide healthcare benefits to individuals who cannot pay for their own medical care or private insurance due to their financial circumstances.

Some people require Medicaid if they lose their job or have some kind of personal emergency. Older adults living on a fixed income may eventually require Medicaid despite having Medicare coverage after they reach retirement age. Medicare will not cover long-term rehabilitation support or nursing home costs. Health First Colorado will.

Of course, it isn’t easy for someone to secure Health First Colorado benefits when they have retirement savings and other valuable assets in their name. Even if they can qualify, they could lose their assets later. Advanced planning for those benefits can be of crucial import for those hoping to leave a legacy for loved ones.

You have to pay back Medicaid benefits

Federal law requires that every state’s Medicaid program attempt to recover money spent on behalf of Medicaid beneficiaries. If you apply for coverage through Health First Colorado in your golden years, the state will not count your home against you when determining whether your assets or income preclude you from receiving benefits.

However, your home and your other valuable personal property will be at risk after you die. Colorado will engage in estate recovery efforts and will be able to claim the full amount of all benefits paid on your behalf from your estate in probate court. Any assets not already diminished to cover your cost of living expenses or transferred to someone else will be subject to those recovery efforts. The state can even force your estate to sell your real property and use the proceeds to pay back those benefits.

Advance planning helps preserve your legacy

Whether you want your spouse to remain in the home that you shared together or want your children to inherit your real property, careful advance planning for Medicaid may be the only way to achieve those goals. Moving the home into a trust or changing ownership long before you need Medicaid benefits is the safest approach for achieving such goals.

Understanding the rules that govern Medicaid benefits in Colorado can help those planning their estate or reviewing their retirement resources.