Minnesota Obamacare Enrollees Surprised To Find Their "Free" Insurance Is Costing Them A Tax Lien

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, Robert Heinlein wrote.

Some people who signed up for Obamacare through the State of Minnesota’s insurance exchange are finding that out the hard way. They thought they were getting something for free. It turns out it’s costing them big, in the form of a tax lien on their property.

Despite owning land and homes, their income and ages made them eligible for Medical Assistance — Minnesota’s version of Medicaid. They were told his monthly premium would be zero.

“Getting it for nothing did not sit well,” Rayburn said.

Then his friend Scott Killerud said he read on a mailer that it was too good to be true. Anyone over 55 on the low-income plan who owns property will pay. Eventually.

The state is picking up the tab now. But their children will have to pick up the tab after they die, in the form of liens.

Rick asked the Minnesota Department of Human Services what his kids would owe.

“Called them up and they were more than happy to tell me we owed them more than $30 thousand,” Rayburn said.

Scott’s children will owe $11 thousand. And the children of Julie Gelle from Sandstone will owe $16 thousand for less than two years of coverage she never used.

“I did not go to the doctor once,” Gelle said.

Apparently the MNsure people have now added a warning to their website. Which is big of them, I guess.

Using Gelle’s example, it seems she’s accumulating a tax encumbrance on her property at a rate of about $8,000 per year. If someone started that at age 55, and lived to be 78 years old (the life expectancy of an American female these days), we’d be talking about a $184,000 tax bill.

Enough to possibly wipe out any estate a person might want to leave to loved ones. Or to force the sale of a cherished family home or business to pay off the lien.

If this were a private sector insurance company tricking retirees into accumulating debt against their property they’d probably be put in jail.

But hey, it’s the government, so I guess it’s legal. Not really moral, of course, but legal.

Talk about a bumper sticker coming to life.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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