changes to medicaid

I have heard that the Medicaid rules have changed, what does this mean? In 2020, New York State decided to make a major change to Community Medicaid (Medicaid for in-home care). The change will create a 30-month (2.5 year) lookback for all Community Medicaid applications.

What does “lookback” mean? It is a review of your financial statements for any money gifted or transferred from the applicant to a family member or trust. These transfers will result in a penalty period and you will not be eligible for coverage during that time. That penalty period is based on the amount of money gifted.

When will this change go into effect? This change was supposed to go into effect October of 2020. However, as a result of the pandemic, the change has already been delayed several times, meaning there is still no “lookback” to qualify for Community Medicaid and you can still transfer your assets and qualify for Medicaid the following month.

All new Medicaid applications filed after December 31, 2021 will have a lookback. For those of you who have already transferred assets or can do so prior to November 30, 2021, you still have a chance to qualify under the old rules!

I am married. Can we still use Spousal Refusal? Spouse to spouse transfers are not penalized and therefore this can still be viable in appropriate circumstances. However, careful planning is required.

I didn’t do any planning and need care now; is it too late? If you transferred assets prior to October of 2020, those transfers would not get captured in the new lookback even if you file after the changes are implemented. If you are currently in need of care, it is not too late but you must act quickly!

I know I will have care needs soon, but I am not quite ready. What should I do? The sooner you discuss your situation with an expert, the sooner you can begin appropriate planning strategies. There might be some value in applying now or your ability to protect your assets may be reduced. Either way, there are options to help you.

I am about to retire; is it too soon to talk about long term planning? Now is the time to review your finances, determine what strategies are needed, and implement those strategies to protect yourself down the line.

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