According to a recent announcement from the New York State Department of Health, the implementation of a Medicaid homecare “lookback” rule has been delayed until at least March 31, 2024. This delay means that people who might have been ineligible for Medicaid homecare benefits due to the lookback rule may now be able to obtain those benefits. However, anyone intending to apply for Medicaid to cover their homecare costs should begin planning now, to avoid potential legal issues when the rule is finally implemented.
What is the Medicaid Homecare Lookback Rule?
The Medicaid homecare lookback rule is a change to the rules surrounding eligibility for Medicaid homecare benefits. In order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, applicants must be below a certain income level, and must also possess less than a certain amount in assets. The new rule would, when implemented, impose a thirty month “lookback” period, meaning that any assets transferred out of an applicant’s possession in the thirty months prior to their application would count towards the maximum amount of assets permitted.
What Effect Would This Rule Have?
There is presently, no look-back period for Medicaid homecare and transfers of assets do not result in Medicaid ineligibility. However, the overall effect of this new rule means that people who have too much in assets to qualify for Medicaid homecare benefits cannot simply transfer their property out of their possession and automatically qualify. Instead, once the rule is implemented, they will need to wait at least two and a half years between transferring their assets and applying for benefits. This could cause significant delays in obtaining benefits, and result in more costs to applicants.
Why Has This Rule Been Delayed?
This rule was originally meant to go into effect back in 2020, when the law was originally passed. However, this was delayed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and has been repeatedly pushed back as a result. Even now, with the healthcare system struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic, there is significant pressure to delay the implementation of the Medicaid homecare lookback rule.
How Can This Affect Me?
The delays in the implementation of the Medicaid homecare lookback rule mean that New Yorkers still have time to start planning for their own Medicaid applications. Anyone who intends to make use of those benefits should begin the process of planning for it now, before the rule is put into place, to avoid the risk of being denied benefits later on. This is why you should contact a lawyer with experience handling Medicaid planning and other aspects of elder law, who can help you to make sure you are ready to handle your long-term healthcare needs.
Whether for yourself or for a loved one, estate and elder law planning can be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. The legal professionals at Hobson-Williams, P.C. will advise you on the options available to you, and help you establish a plan that best suits your needs. Call (718) 210-4744 or visit our contact page to speak to one of our attorneys and learn how Hobson-Williams, P.C. can help you gain the peace of mind that comes from being prepared for the future.