Regulators in Washington state have discovered — and are trying to fix — a common Medicaid plan feature that could trip up low-income exchange users.

To reduce the risk that families with assets will think of Medicaid as a free long-term care insurance plan, federal regulations require states to put liens on the homes, cars and other assets of Medicaid users ages 55 and older, to help state recover any money spent on long-term care from the Medicaid users' estates.

Washington and many other states, including California, Florida and New York, interpret the regulations to mean that they should use liens to try to recover any money spent by Medicaid on any care for people ages 55 and older, not just for long-term care specifically.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.