Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Change in the NH Medicaid penalty for uncompensated transfers of assets

The monthly private-pay nursing home care rate is part of what DHHR uses to determine how long your penalty will be for certain uncompensated transfers of assets if you apply for nursing home Medicaid. That figure has been increased to $5,087 as of March 1, 2007 www.wvdhhr.org/bcf/policy/imm/IMManualChanges/451/ch17_10.pdf

For several years (approximately 8?) the figure has been the very low $3,380. This is an improvement for long-term Medicaid beneficiaries and their families because it will reduce the length of penalties for the kinds of uncompensated asset transfers (a legal term for something most people would call gifts) that get penalized. For example, if you gave your granddaughter $7,000 to help her pay her college tuition, and needed Medicaid to pay for your nursing home care within 3 years (soon to be 5 years, more on this later), that could have gotten you a 2 month penalty using the old rate. It could only get you a 1 month penalty under the new rule, as DHHR divides the value of the gift by this new monthly private-pay nursing home rate.

But WV still has not promulgated regulations to implement the federal Medicaid changes under the Deficit Reduction Act 2005 (DRA). Those changes, whenever they are made, will likely make the penalties even harsher again, as they eliminate the practice of rounding down to the nearest whole number of months, lengthen the look-back period for penalizing transfers from 3 years to 5 years, and begin the penalties from the time you are in the NH and need the benefits rather than from the time of the transfer.

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