New Law in Washington State Treats Same-Sex Couples As Married for Purposes of Medicaid Estate Recovery

On March 12, 2008, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law House Bill 3104, extending 170 legal rights and responsibilities to couples in same-sex relationships. Among the new responsibilities is that the state will treat surviving members of same-sex couples (”domestic partners” in the law) the same as surviving spouses of married couples for purposes of estate recovery by Medicaid.

The new law, which takes effect June 12, 2008, prohibits recovery by Medicaid if the agency would not have been permitted to recover from a surviving spouse in similar circumstances.

To read the full text of House Bill 3104 in PDF format, go to: 3104-S2.PL.pdf. The section relating to estate recovery is Sec. 302 (p. 20).

To date, New Jersey has no law governing the responsibility of same sex couples who have been united in a civil union to reimburse the State if one member of the couple receives long-term care services paid for by Medicaid.