Rising nursing-home costs affect 'lookback'

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New York's 2014 estimates of nursing-home costs show that Nassau and Suffolk, at $12,112 a month, are the most expensive counties in the state. The estimates are up $1,200 a month from five years ago.

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The amount is important for those looking to qualify for nursing-home care paid for by Medicaid, but who face an ineligibility period under the "lookback" rule. The rule examines whether the Medicaid applicant, in the five years before applying for Medicaid, gave away monetary gifts or transferred property to make his or her assets small enough to qualify for coverage. (Transfers to a spouse are exempt.)

The ineligibility period is calculated by dividing the value of the transferred assets into the monthly cost of nursing-home care. So if someone transferred assets worth $50,000 during the five-year lookback, he or she would be ineligible for Medicaid-paid nursing-home coverage for about four months, meaning the family of the patient would be responsible for paying the costs until Medicaid kicks in. For more information, go to bit.ly/nys-medicaid.

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