Ask the Attorneys: Medicaid’s Look-back Rule

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Aging Parents, Asset Protection, Nursing Home

“Are asset gifts to spouses exempt from the 5-year “look back” for Medicaid? –Charles A.

Generally speaking, assets transfers to a spouse are exempt from the 5-year look-back rule. Transferring assets from the Medicaid applicant spouse to the community spouse (the at-home spouse) is part of what we do when completing Medicaid applications for clients.

The rule specifically states that the following transfers are allowed:

  1. A transfer of homestead property to a spouse.
  2. Transfers to a community spouse where the amount transferred does not exceed the Community Spouse Asset Allowance ($109,560).
  3. A transfer of personal effects, household good and one motor vehicle, regardless of the dollar value.

These transfers do not create penalties. However, you must remember that there is an overall asset limit of $109, 560 (plus certain exemptions) in order for a married person to qualify for Medicaid. Therefore, the Medicaid applicant cannot simply transfer all of their assets to the spouse and qualify for Medicaid. The Medicaid department will factor in both spouses’ assets when determining eligibility.

Please remember that this is general advice and each situation is unique. If you have a specific scenario that you would like me to analyze, please contact me and I would be happy to look at the facts in your case. (To read more about upcoming Medicare cuts and how it may affect those in nursing care, click HERE.)