Mar 17

Medicaid’s Anti-Lien Provision Applies Only to Living Medicaid Recipients


A Florida court of appeals rules that Medicaid’s anti-lien provision does not apply to a Medicaid lien imposed on a Medicaid recipient’s property after the recipient dies. Estate of Hernandez v. Agency for Health Care Admin. (Fla. Ct. App., 3rd Dist., No. 3D14-2115, Feb. 17, 2016).

Betsy Hernandez died of a rare condition. Her estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital that treated her. The hospital agreed to settle the lawsuit for $700,000, and Medicaid placed a lien on the settlement to recoup medical expenses paid on Ms. Hernandez’s behalf.

The Medicaid agency claimed it was entitled to $262,500 before any wrongful death apportionment. The estate argued that the agency sought money allocated to survivors and that under Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Ahlborn (547 U.S. 268 (2006)), states cannot assert a lien on portions of a settlement not allocated to medical expenses. The trial court denied the estate’s motion for a hearing, and the estate appealed.

The Florida Court of Appeals, 3rd District, affirms, holding that “the Medicaid Act’s anti-lien provision does not apply to a Medicaid lien imposed against the property of a Medicaid recipient after her death.” The court holds that Ahlborn and Wos v. E.M.A (U.S., No. 12-98, March 20, 2013) do not apply because Medicaid’s anti-lien provision applies only to living Medicaid recipients.

For the full text of this decision, go to: