Medicaid's Look Back Period

Rising healthcare costs mean more and more seniors are looking to Medicaid to cover the costs of long-term nursing home care. However, as an entitlement program run by the state and federal government, Medicaid eligibility is subject to strict income and asset limits. 

Seniors applying for Medicaid may find themselves in the regrettable position of having too many assets to qualify, but not enough to cover their long-term care expenses. Even when applicants do have means, they often prefer to leave income and assets to their loved ones, rather than using them to defray healthcare expenses. Sound familiar?

Though giving or transferring assets to loved ones until you're Medicaid eligible may sound like the perfect solution, the program has a five-year look-back period to prevent you from doing exactly that. This look back period means that Medicaid will examine your transactions for the past five years.

If you're found to have gifted, transferred, or sold assets for less than fair market value, you may be penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility that lasts months or even years. Why? Medicaid assumes that had you not gifted or transferred income or assets, these funds could have been used to help pay for your nursing home care.

Fortunately, careful Medicaid planning can help you qualify for the nursing home care you need and protect the income and assets you want to leave to your heirs. The laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility are complex, which is why you need an experienced elder law attorney to assist you.

Schedule a Consultation

As the largest boutique law firm in Texas and Arkansas, the accomplished legal team with Ross & Shoalmire, P.L.L.C. has helped countless seniors protect their income and assets while still qualifying for long-term care in a nursing home. We'd love a chance to discuss how we could potentially help you, too. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.

Chris Parker
Chris Parker helps clients in TX and AR with medicaid and estate planning, asset protection, and probate.