As we age, eventually most of us will need some kind of assistance with the activities of daily living. Unfortunately, a nursing home stay or in-home care is extremely expensive. Even people with assets to spare can quickly see their savings drained by a sudden health change. That’s why so many New Yorkers end up relying on Medicaid to cover costs, but an applicant must meet extremely strict requirements. Those requirements saw a critical change in April 2021 that may drastically impact your family.
What You Need to Know About Medicaid Lookback in New York
Chronic Medicaid that covers nursing home stays in New York has always used a five-year lookback period set at the federal level. That lookback checks to see if you’ve transferred large amounts of money or given assets like a home to family members. In those cases, applicants have to pay for costs up to the value of the transfers before Medicaid coverage kicks in.
That stumbling block to coverage previously didn’t apply to Community Medicaid, however, which is used for home care. Under newly enacted rules, Community Medicaid programs that provide nursing home-style coverage at home also require a 30-month lookback period.
That means something you did up to two and a half years ago, potentially long before you were even sick or had developed a disability, can prevent you from getting coverage. You might end up paying out-of-pocket for financially devastating care that you can’t live without.
Early planning has always been crucial, but this new change to the New York Community Medicaid requirements drives home the importance of preparing in advance for a medical crisis. You don’t want to be left in a difficult situation where you can’t get coverage because of financial decisions made years ago.
Without proper planning, you may end up needing to spend down your assets, reverse gifts given to family members in previous years, or scramble to find ways to pay costs directly. A better option is to take action before you need long-term care by utilizing trusts or other asset protection strategies.
Call an Experienced Elder Law Attorney Before a Health Crisis
None of us knows what tomorrow might bring. Don’t wait to start reviewing your finances with an attorney now to avoid major problems later down the line. Call or message Alatsas Law Firm today to schedule a consultation and tell us how we can help meet your needs.