Definition: Medicaid Lien

Medicaid is a health care program that is funded jointly by the states and the federal government. Each state’s Medicaid program (Apple Health in Washington) is required to recoup the cost of benefits paid to a Medicaid enrollee for services such as nursing home care, hospital care, prescription drugs, etc. The state government can seek to recover these costs by imposing liens on your real property or assets, called a Medicaid lien. This can happen during your lifetime if you are permanently institutionalized, or it can happen after you pass away, in which case the state may make a claim against your estate.

When drafting your will, it is important to remember that the Medicaid lien may be a claim against the assets in your estate which must be repaid before beneficiaries will receive gifts from the will.