Five Things you Need to Know About Colorado’s Medicaid Recovery Program

Medicaid is a needs based, joint federal and state program that often enters the lives of senior citizens when it comes to paying for nursing home expenses. But many don’t realize that the cost of medical expenses that are paid for by Colorado’s Medicaid program are subject to a recovery program.

Not only can Medicaid recover its costs through any tort or liability proceeds the patient may be entitled to, but it also may recoup costs through an estate recovery program.


Following are five facts that you should know regarding this program:

1. The acceptance of Medicaid assistance creates a debt that is enforceable after the death of the client.

Estate recovery applies to those Medicaid clients who have received services after 1992 and were age 55 or older at the time of the service or who were institutionalized.

2. Colorado’s estate recovery program is administered by a third party, not the state’s Medicaid program itself.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (DHCPF) contracts with Health Management Systems, Inc. (HMS) to administer the Colorado Estate Recovery Program.

3. Estate Recovery is accomplished in two ways, either a lien is placed on the client’s property or a claim is filed against their estate when they pass.

4. Colorado limits Medicaid estate claims to property in a “probate” estate.

In Colorado, “estate” is legally defined as the property of the deceased whose affairs are subject to the Probate Code.

5. Certain properties may be exempt from the program.

A home may be exempt from the estate recovery program if a spouse, sibling, or in some instances a child is living in the home. Property may also be exempted if the heirs to the estate will be forced to rely on public assistance if they do not receive the inheritance, or if the inheritance allows them to discontinue public assistance.


Obviously, Medicaid law is complex with many rules and regulations. The Medicaid lawyers in Colorado Springs and Denver CO can help you navigate the specifics of the program before, during, and after applying for assistance, including Medicaid planning to help preserve both eligibility and a family’s property.

Hammond Law Group, PC – Medicaid attorneys in Colorado Springs and Denver CO

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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