Thursday, March 26, 2009

There are new rules for long-term care Medicaid in West Virginia, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 has been implemented

The other shoe has finally dropped. Advocates have been wondering when the changes required by federal legislation in 2005 would be implemented in West Virginia. But we weren't hoping it would happen any time soon, since almost all these changes will make it harder for some West Virginians to become eligible for Medicaid to pay their long-term care bills.

The changes apply to people who apply for LTC Medicaid on or after March 1, 2009, and for asset transfers that were made after February 8, 2006.

We expect to publish a detailed article about the changes in the first issue of the revived West Virginia aging and law newsletter in May. In the meantime, here below is a quick summary of some of the changes. You can find the state Department of Health and Human Resources specifics on the changes by going to this page http://www.wvdhhr.org/bcf/policy/imm/ManualChanges.htm and clicking the links for the 2 different .pdf documents on the list that mention "Medicaid - DRA."

Some of the substantial changes include:

- The lookback period for uncompensated transfers is now 5 years for everything.
- The specifics of how the penalty period for uncompensated transfers of assets is calculated and when is begins have changed and the results are harsher for the consumer.
- There is now a cap on home equity of $500,000, so applicants whose equity exceeds that are not eligible for LTC Medicaid unless that home is still occupied by a spouse, the applicant's adult disabled child, or child under 21.
- And a little good news, there is a specific process and form for the undue hardship waiver.

So the Medicaid planning attorney's tool box just got a little lighter, so for seniors who have substantial countable assets early planning is even more important than before.

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