How does the five-year look-back period work in Massachusetts?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2021 | Medicaid/Medicare

The majority of Massachusetts residents will need skilled nursing care when they get older. There comes a time when a person is no longer able to safely take care of themselves. But this nursing care does not come cheap. The average Massachusetts nursing home costs at least $12,000/month. This is a serious amount of money for most people and can quickly drain their life savings. But planning ahead for these costs is something seniors can do.

Qualifying for MassHealth

Qualifying for Medicaid is important for many seniors. Once they qualify for Medicaid, their nursing home or assisted living facility costs will be covered. In Massachusetts, Medicaid is known as MassHealth. MassHealth eligibility is based on an applicant’s countable and non-countable assets. A person is allowed $2,000 in countable assets.

Look-back period

MassHealth will impose a penalty period when a person 65 years old or older transfers assets to someone other than their spouse within 5 years of applying for benefits. If it is found that the person transferred assets of more than $15,000 each year, they will be denied benefits.

Elder law attorney

A person who is skilled in elder law can help their client understand their options when it comes to MassHealth. They understand that their client does not want to lose their life savings to a nursing home. They will examine every available option to protect their financial assets. They can help create a spend-down plan, transfer assets to a trust, or create more unique arrangements. An attorney has the experience necessary to protect their client’s future and their assests.