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New York City Medicaid and Nursing Home Planning

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The cost of long-term nursing home care continues to grow in America. For many Americans and their families, the greatest fear is being unable to meet the cost of quality health care and being forced to spend their life savings before qualifying for government benefits.

Smart Medicaid planning can help prevent this from happening.

Medicaid planning is used to help clients protect their homes and their property. Medicaid planning usually involves the establishment of an irrevocable trust, and the transfer of those assets to the trust. If property has been timely transferred into a trust, the property will be protected, and it will not disqualify an individual from receiving Medicaid benefits.

Whether applying to Medicaid for in-home care, an assisted living facility, or nursing home, there is an asset limit. To qualify for Medicaid a person may not have assets (money and property) greater than the limit.

Medicaid employs a look-back period, which is meant to prevent Medicaid applicants from giving away assets or selling them under fair market value in an attempt to meet Medicaid’s asset limit.

Any asset transfers during the look-back period are reviewed. Asset transfers include any monetary gifts, property transfers, or items sold for less than their fair market value.  If Medicaid determines that the applicant gave away, transferred or sold property that could have been used to pay for medical services, then a penalty occurs. The good news is that any asset transfers made BEFORE the 5-year look-back are not counted.

Keep in mind that some seemingly innocent gifts can still count as violations of the look-back. For example, giving money to a grandchild for graduation or a birthday can be considered unacceptable. More obvious examples of violations would include transferring property into your child’s name or selling a car for much less than it’s worth.

Considering all of the variables involved, it is a wise idea to consult an attorney before applying for Medicaid.

Check out our Medicaid & Nursing Home Planning Guide for more information.

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