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Medicaid look back: 3 FAQs

Medicaid is a federal program designed to cover the costs of medical care once a qualifying individual's funds are depleted. Steps can be taken to proactively plan to qualify for these benefits.

Qualifying for Medicaid can be beneficial in a number of situations, including for married couples. It can allow for one spouse to qualify for Medicaid benefits without depleting all of the couple's assets.

Those who are trying to proactively plan for Medicaid need to plan carefully. One thing to be aware of while planning is called the look back period. Three basic things to take note of involving this part of Medicaid planning include:

  • What is the look back period? It is important to know what this term means. The look back period refers to the time period that will be reviewed before an applicant can qualify for Medicaid benefits. The review will focus on any questionable transfer of assets.
  • How long is the look back period? A recent piece in Forbes discussed this issue, noting the current look back period spans the five years prior to the application date.
  • What happens if gifts or other transfers were made during the look back period? If transfers were made during this period, penalties will likely apply.

These are just three of the more common questions that come up when people start thinking about long-term healthcare needs.

These questions bring up an important part of the process: the need to start early. Without proper planning long before the application process begins, an estate can suffer from serious penalties. Contact an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure your estate is protected.

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