Home Care transfer rules for Medicaid
This issue of the Koldin Law Center e-mail mailing list reviews the new Home Care transfer rules for Medicaid.
We all hope that we will be fortunate and avoid long term care in a nursing home. In the event of illness, our goal would be to remain at home with home health care.
Other than long term care insurance or self pay, Medicaid is the only government program that pays for ongoing long term care at home or in a nursing home. Without advance planning, a single person would not be eligible for Medicaid until his/her life savings is spent down to $4,200. For a husband and wife, the healthy spouse would have to spend down their life savings to $5,400 for certain types of home care.
On February 8, 2006, a new federal law (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005) took effect and increased the look back period from 3 to 5 years. This means that assets that are transferred (gifted) today to another person, or to a specially designed Trust that complies with the government requirements, are not protected until 5 years have passed. This new law applied primarily to nursing home care.
In a recent Directive (issued September 24, 2007), New York State has determined that the look back period does not apply to home care. This means that assets can be transferred and the ill person can be made immediately eligible for Medicaid for home care. However, if the ill person requires nursing home care within 5 years of the transfers, the assets are still considered available and would have to be used to pay nursing home bills.
Furthermore, New York State could at anytime enact legislation to impose a 5 year look back period.
If you are currently private paying for home care or may need home care in the future, call the Koldin Law Center for advice and help.
Knowing that the home care rules could change at any time, it is imperative to review all your options and do your planning before the laws change.
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