53-6-167. Recovery of medicaid benefits after recipient's death. (1) Except as provided in subsection (7) or (9)(b), after the death of a recipient, the department shall execute and present a claim against the recipient's estate, within the time specified in the published notice to creditors in the estate proceeding, for the total amount of recoverable medical assistance paid to or on behalf of the recipient. The department is not required to initiate probate proceedings in order to present a claim in a case in which no proceeding has been commenced to probate the estate of the deceased recipient.
(2) Except as prohibited by subsection (9)(b), after the death of a recipient, the department may execute and present a claim against a person who has received property of the recipient by distribution or survival for an amount equal to the recoverable medical assistance paid on behalf of the recipient or the value of the property received by the person from the recipient by distribution or survival, whichever is less. The amount recoverable from a person with respect to property of the recipient must be reduced by the value of any property transferred to the person for less than full market value for which a period of ineligibility was imposed under 53-6-166 against the recipient during the recipient's life. The department may bring an action in district court to collect upon a claim under this subsection (2).
(3) A department claim under subsection (1) or (2) must include notice of the right to seek an undue hardship exception under rules adopted by the department in accordance with subsection (8).
(4) (a) Notwithstanding any statute of limitations or other claim presentation deadline provided by law, a department claim against an estate is not barred for lack of timely presentation if it is presented in the probate proceeding within the time specified in the published notice to creditors.
(b) An action to collect a claim under subsection (2) must be commenced within 3 years of the later of the recipient's death or the closing of the recipient's estate.
(5) (a) For purposes of this section, property of a deceased recipient received by distribution or survival is any real or personal property or other assets in which the recipient had any right, title, or interest immediately prior to the time of death, including but not limited to assets passing to one or more survivors, heirs, assignees, or beneficiaries of the deceased recipient through joint tenancy, tenancy in common, right of survivorship, conveyance by the recipient subject to life estate, living trust, or other arrangement. For purposes of this section, property is not received by distribution or survival to the extent that the person received the property or property interest for consideration equal to the fair market value of the property or property interest received.
(b) Property received by distribution includes but is not limited to:
(i) property from a deceased recipient's estate distributed to a person through a probated estate or a small estate administration procedure; and
(ii) property from a deceased recipient's estate otherwise distributed to or in the possession of a person through any other procedure or when a legal procedure for distribution has not been followed.
(c) Assets of a deceased recipient's estate and property of a deceased recipient received by distribution or survival are not exempt from recovery under this section because the assets or property were or may have been considered by the department as exempt income or resources for the purpose of determining eligibility for medical assistance during the recipient's lifetime.
(6) (a) The department may seek recovery under subsection (1) or (2), or both, with respect to a deceased recipient until its claim is satisfied in full. Upon full satisfaction of its claim, the department may not seek further recovery and shall provide appropriate releases to the deceased recipient's estate and to other affected persons.
(b) An estate or other person is not entitled to a reduction or waiver of the department's claim on the grounds that there is or may be another person from whom recovery may be made under this section.
(7) The department may waive recovery under this section if it determines that recovery would not be cost-effective. In determining whether recovery would be cost-effective for purposes of this subsection, the department may consider but is not limited to consideration of the following factors:
(a) the estimated cost of recovery;
(b) the amount reasonably likely to be recovered;
(c) the likelihood that recovery by the department will cause a person to become eligible for public assistance; and
(d) the importance of the case or the issues in the case and the need for judicial interpretation of issues that may recur with respect to the administration or implementation of this section.
(8) (a) Upon presentation or assertion of a claim by the department under this section, the personal representative of the estate or another affected person may apply to the department, in accordance with procedures established by department rule, for a waiver of recovery based on undue hardship. The department shall waive its recovery under this section in whole or in part if it determines that recovery would result in undue hardship as defined by department rule.
(b) The department shall adopt rules that are consistent with 42 U.S.C. 1396p, as may be amended, and that implement federal regulations and policies, establishing procedures and criteria for undue hardship exceptions. The rules adopted under this section must include but are not limited to rules addressing the following:
(i) a description of the circumstances considered to constitute an undue hardship;
(ii) the procedures by which an individual may seek an undue hardship exception;
(iii) the persons entitled to an undue hardship exception; and
(iv) whether an exception is partial or temporary and the circumstances under which partial or temporary exceptions may be granted.
(c) If a person is aggrieved by a department determination on an application for an undue hardship exception, the person may assert a claim of entitlement to an undue hardship exception in any court proceeding on a department petition for allowance of an estate claim or for recovery of an amount due under this section. When a person claims entitlement to an undue hardship exception in the proceeding, the court shall make a determination on the claim for an exception based upon the department rules adopted in accordance with this section. Department denial of all or any part of the relief requested in an exception application under this section may be reviewed by a district court only as provided in this subsection (8)(c). Denial does not grant a right to a contested case hearing or a right to judicial review under the Montana Administrative Procedure Act or the department's rules.
(9) (a) Except as provided in subsection (9)(b), if the requirements of this section are met, the department may collect upon its claim.
(b) The department may not recover under this section while there is a surviving spouse of the recipient or while there is a surviving child of the recipient who is under 21 years of age, blind, or permanently and totally disabled. This subsection (9)(b) does not preclude the department from recovering from the recipient's estate after the death of the surviving spouse or child.
(10) All money recovered under this section from any source must be distributed to the state general fund and to the United States as required by applicable state and federal laws and regulations.