Housing in Medicaid: Should It Really Change?

Housing is mostly exempted from Medicaid and Supplemental Social Insurance means tests. Reforms of this special treatment have been debated, but little is known about its costs, benefits, and redistributive implications. I estimate a life cycle model of single retirees accounting for this exemption. It shows that the homestead exemption explains important patterns of Medicaid recipiency and that it is highly valued. It also shows that estate recovery could cover most of its costs with possibly limited negative welfare consequences. Finally, the model predicts that removing the homestead exemption or enforcing estate recovery programs would reduce redistribution toward lower-income retirees.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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