Client Alert: Sweeping Changes to Medicaid Home Care, Effective 10/01/2020
While the Department of Health provided temporary relief to Medicaid recipients and applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York legislature has enacted new restrictions on Medicaid home care applications that are slated to go into effect on October 1, 2020. These restrictions were recommended by the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team in an effort to reduce New York State’s rapidly expanding Medicaid budget. Although applicants who seek Medicaid payments for nursing home care have long been subject to imposition of transfer penalties for gifts made in the five-year (60-month) “look back” period prior to the submission of the application, New York has not previously penalized transfers of assets made by applicants for services in the home. However, as of October 1, 2020, gifts made in the 30-months prior to submission of a Medicaid home care application will be penalized unless qualified as an exempt transfer. Additionally, the legislation authorizes changes to the home care assessment and delivery process.
There are many unanswered questions about the full extent of the changes to the Medicaid home care program which will result from this new legislation. Our Elder Law and Special Needs Practice Group can help you prepare for these changes. It may be advisable to apply for Medicaid home care before the October 1, 2020 effective date. We can help you take advantage of the exemptions from the Medicaid transfer penalties and explore whether it is advisable to prepare an irrevocable trust and transfer assets to the Trust now. We are able to work with you and still maintain social distancing during this difficult time, as we have videoconferencing technology both for remote meetings and remote execution of necessary documents.