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153370-3 - In re Gorney, French, Ketchum & Rasmer Estates

Department of Health and Human Services,
 
Brian K. McLaughlin
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Huron Prob – Clabuesch, D.)
 
Estate of Irene Gorney
 
Gary P. Supanich
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 
 
____________________________
 
 
Department of Health and Human Services,
 
Brian K. McLaughlin
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Calhoun Prob– Jaconette, M.)
 
Daniel Gene French, Personal Representative for the Estate of William B. French,
 
 
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 
______________________________
 
 
Department of Health and Human Services,
 
Brian K. McLaughlin
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Clinton Prob – Sullivan, L.)
 
Estate of Wilma Ketchum,
 
 
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 
 
 
 
_______________________________
 
 
Department of Health and Human Services,
 
Geraldine Brown
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Bay Prob – Kilda, D.)
 
Richard Rasmer, Personal Representaive of the Estate of Olive Rasmer,
 
Gary P. Supanich
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 

Summary

The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) allows state governments to recover certain medical expenses paid for by Medicaid upon the death of recipients aged 55 years or older. In these four cases, the plaintiff Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) submitted claims in the probate courts against the defendant estates to collect a portion of the value of the decedents’ homes to recover the cost of Medicaid benefits received after July 1, 2010, which the DHHS contends was the effective date of the MERP. The defendant estates countered that the notice of the estate-recovery program provided by the DHHS in 2011 was inadequate and violated their right to due process. In all four cases, the probate courts ruled in favor of the defendant estates, finding that the notice was insufficient. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the probate courts’ decisions in each case, holding that it was bound by a prior appellate ruling that the notice was sufficient. However, a two-judge majority concluded that the extent of the retroactive application of the MERP was a question of first impression, and it affirmed the probate courts’ decisions to disallow the DHHS’s claims for benefits received before July 1, 2011, the actual date of implementation of the MERP. The majority also held that the DHHS’s administrative determination regarding whether estate recovery would be cost-effective in a particular situation was subject to judicial review.  One judge dissented in part. On July 8, 2016, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to address whether and to what extent the MERP permits the DHHS to seek estate recovery for Medicaid services provided to an individual before that individual received notification of the estate-recovery program from the DHHS, whether estate recovery for such pre-notification services constitutes a violation of the individual’s right to due process, and whether a challenge to the DHHS’s estate-recovery efforts under MCL 400.112g(4) is subject to judicial review.