Listen to Lawrence! New Medicaid Rules

April 6, 2020


Dear clients and friends,

I hope everyone had a safe weekend.

As I reported to you last week, starting October 1st, New York will now impose a 2 1/2 year look-back for Medicaid home care applications. What does that mean?

You already know that you have to be poor to be on Medicaid; you cannot have more than $15,750 (plus some exempt assets) in your name. In the past, you were allowed to transfer your assets out of your name at the last minute to become poor and as a result, qualify for benefits. When you apply for Medicaid, the new law will essentially allow the state of New York to audit your books for the preceding 2 1/2 years to see if you made yourself artificially poor to qualify for home care benefits. We are still waiting for clarity, but it appears that if a transfer is caught in the look-back, you will not be eligible for Medicaid home care for one month for approximately every $13,000 you transferred. This is similar to how nursing home Medicaid works but that has a 5 year look-back.

Many working and middle class people relied on this easy access to Medicaid home care and did no advance planning, swearing that “I will never go to a nursing home and I can transfer and save all my assets at the last minute and still get Medicaid home care benefits.” This, of course, will no longer be true.

If you are interested in accessing Medicaid someday to provide assistance in your home, to stay home and out of a nursing home, and wish to protect your assets, it is time to get your planning started. You need to get your 2 1/2 year look-back started and finished. If you also wish to protect your assets from the more expensive nursing home,then you need to get your 5 year look-back started and finished. I know that we are all distracted with the scary Covid-19 virus, but this new law requires your attention and advance planning. We are here to help, just like we have for the last 107 years and counting.


Please forward this email to your family and friends and keep those questions coming!

Please be safe!