Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New bill aims to wipe the medical assistance record clean

 


Senator Jason Rarick introduced a new bill to the Minnesota Senate on February 24 that would eliminate medical assistance welfare data for those who were newly placed on Medical Assistance (MA) between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016, to protect individuals who could face potential liens against their property after their passing. The bill will also destroy records older than 10 years for those who had medical costs paid by MA during the prior ten years. A companion bill was introduced by Representative Nathan Nelson into the House on February 26.

This newly proposed legislation will hopefully mark the end of an ongoing battle started by a local grassroots coalition to end estate liens, the burden of which would be left to their heirs. The group already successfully helped end the state’s practice of placing claims on estates of people receiving MA for general health care premiums and costs paid on their behalf.

Even with the change in law, there is still the worry that past assistance could return to haunt recipients. Unless the change is made at the federal level as well, those records could still be used to reclaim from estates. Removing those records from the equation could alleviate the worry of recovery down the road.

“With those histories gone, there will be nothing for the Department of Human Services to reclaim in the future,” said Rick Rayburn who is part of the coalition pushing for legislative change.

Although the bill will destroy data on those who received MA benefits or services, it will not apply to those who “received nursing facility services or home and community-based services at any time” according to the bill’s language.

“This group … has held fast and stuck together through the passage of two prior bills and have come together again hoping to finally put this injustice to rest thereby unencumbering their estates for the benefit of their heirs,” said Rayburn. “Many involved have found this to be a very powerful and amazing experience. I know I have.”

Rayburn urged those on MA to contact their representatives to help the bill gain momentum. Senor Jason Rarick can be contacted at (651) 296-0293 regarding bill SF 3602 and Representative Nathan Nelson at (651) 296-0518 regarding bill HF 4860.

“For anyone who was or is on MA, this bill will definitely have a positive impact for them,” said Rayburn.

 

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