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What is the Medicaid look-back period?

A popular question that I answer a lot for my estate planning clients is what is the Medicaid look-back period for assets?  When clients realize they might be eligible for Medicaid, they start their estate planning with that in mind.  However, the timing of everything for Medicaid planning is of the utmost importance. 

Most people do know of the two federal programs, Medicare and Medicaid.  A quick refresher: Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older (and certain younger people with disabilities). Medicaid provides health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, elderly adults and people with disabilities. 

The most common scenario that I see is that a client's biggest asset is their house and they want to know the options on what they can do to qualify for Medicaid.  A lot of people think they can transfer ownership of the house and then they will have no assets and they will qualify.  That is not entirely the case.  And the reason for that is the Medicaid look-back period.

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Lauren Jackson
Posted - 09/09/2020 | Illinois