How to Notify Medicaid of a Death: Step-By-Step

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Medicaid is a program that provides health coverage to 68.8 million people, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. The program is administered by states and is funded by both state and federal tax dollars.  

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It is sometimes confused with Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program for people 65 or older or younger people who qualify based on specific health conditions. 

This article will assist you with how to notify Medicaid that your loved one has died. We will give you step-by-step instructions on how to check this off of your to-do list. We’ll also tell you what documents you need to take care of this task. 

You may also be interested in reading how to report a death to credit bureaus if you recently lost a loved one. Also, have a discussion with the funeral director who is organizing the end-of-life services for your loved one. These individuals are experts in the logistics of death, and they will help you complete any necessary paperwork to inform the appropriate authorities. 

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Do You Need Anything Before You Report a Death to Medicaid?

You’ll need to know the deceased’s social security number and date of birth when reporting a death. Look in their personal records to find this information. If you can’t find it, here is the form from the social security administration to help you obtain that number. 

Check with your funeral home director for other resources that may be available to assist you in finding your loved one’s social security number. 

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Steps for Notifying Medicaid of a Death

When a loved one dies, one of the first government entities that needs to be informed is the Social Security Administration. Once this is done, the death will become a part of both Medicaid and Medicare’s records. No other action needs to be taken to alert Medicaid of the death. 

Even though notifying the proper authorities of a death is the responsibility of the family or the executor of the will, many times, this task is completed by the funeral home director. Most funeral homes include this as a part of their service fees. In fact, Social Security provides a form to funeral directors for this purpose. The funeral home director may also use your state’s Electronic Death Registration so that the information gets to the Social Security Administration with speed and accuracy. 

Here are the steps to take to notify the Social Security Administration regarding the death of your loved one. 

Option 1: Call the Social Security Administration

Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 am–7:00 pm CST Monday through Friday. 

You may also contact your local Social Security Office to see if it is possible to give the information in person, even though some offices are not open to the public. 

Or—

Option 2: Ask your funeral home director to report the death to the Social Security Administration

As mentioned earlier, you can also request that the funeral home director file the Statement of Death to the Social Security Administration. Medicaid and Medicare will be notified of the death as a result of the Social Security Administration receiving the appropriate form. 

While you may like being in control of the situation and notifying the Social Security Administration on your own, the process may be more cumbersome if you do it. When a funeral home director fills out the appropriate forms, they don’t need to submit your loved one’s death certificate. Depending on the situation, you may be required to provide a copy of the death certificate if you do this task yourself.

For more information regarding this process, read Everything You Need to Know About Death Certificates and 6 Reasons You’ll Need a Death Certificate (and How Many to Get).

What Happens Once You Report a Death to Medicaid?

Once the Medicaid department is notified of your loved one’s death, several things may take place.

If Medicaid “paid” for your loved one’s medical costs, they may try to get “paid back” some of those funds from the estate of the deceased.

Here’s a scenario to help you understand what may happen:

If your aunt was in a nursing facility for the last three years of her life, her Social Security check probably went straight to the facility to help cover her costs. Medicaid may have paid for the remaining costs associated with her care.

If your aunt died with any assets, that money is used to “pay back” Medicaid. This process differs from state to state. The assets may come from a house being sold or an inheritance that your aunt received prior to her death. It may also come from her personal belongings. 

Some of these situations regarding this “pay back” become complicated. For example, what if the home that was owned by the deceased is lived in by adult children who cared for their loved one? What if a sibling had equity in the house and lived with the deceased? An attorney may be needed to sort through these complicated situations. 

Some people try to gift their assets to their family members before receiving Medicare benefits in an attempt to circumvent these rules. This is not allowed. If the assets were given to individuals within the last few years of the deceased loved one’s life, Medicaid might require that those assets are returned to the organization. Some states may even take items bequeathed by the deceased to an individual in an attempt to cover some of the costs. Talk with an attorney to see how the transfer of such assets can be legally undertaken.

If your loved one was the recipient of Medicaid, contact an estate lawyer or an attorney specializing in elder care law. 

Get Your Affairs in Order

Keep your loved ones from being left with a mess by getting your affairs in order. Here are some tips for completing this process.

  • Put all of your essential documents and paperwork in one place. Check the paperwork each year to see if anything needs to be updated. While you may want to secure the documents, make sure your loved ones know how to access them. 
  • Tell a trusted family member where you put all your important papers (as well as where the key is if the file cabinet is locked). If you would rather keep this information private until after you die, leave the information with a lawyer.
  • Tell your family members your end-of-life plans. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Where do you want your final remains to rest for eternity? What songs do you want at your funeral, and what color casket do you want?

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider as you face the end of your life, and we have hardly scratched the surface. Complete an end-of-life plan today to make things easy for your loved ones after you die.


Sources 

  1. “Social Security Administration.” www.ssa.gov/

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