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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #15)

Sun May 14, 2017, 03:16 PM

57. The look back is 5 years from the start of Medicaid eligibility in most states.

That was our experience with my mother's father. He and my step-grandmother had sold one farm and bought a few acres with one house existing and space for a second house, which they added. Then they subdivided the property and gave the existing house to my mother's step-sister. When he got his Parkinson's diagnosis, they transferred other property. He live about 4 years after diagnosis, the last year in skilled nursing. They didn't have the income to pay for it, so he was on Medicaid. My step-aunt (who is a piece of work, but was the one on site, so deserved the hazard pay) had owned the property long enough that she got to keep it. (My mother got cash out of the original farm sale.) The rest was within the look-back, so the state of Indiana attached it and the other heirs had to either cough up the lien or let it be sold. The only exception was the second house, which my step-grandmother inherited as surviving widow, and which was attached for her final illness.

The big issue with the Medicaid look-back is that most elderly people have assets after a lifetime of work, but don't have much income. Most of that asset is usually their family home or farm or both, much of which they inherited themselves. It hits working and middle class people hardest, and is what gets conflated as "death taxes" amongst people who aren't policy wonks. Because Medicare only covers up to 120 days of in-patient rehabilitation, and Skilled Nursing runs around $7000 a month, even in rural Indiana, it's very easy for a family to run through a lifetime's savings very quickly.

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