If you are thinking about applying for Medicaid, you may have heard about the look-back period. A look-back period could significantly harm your ability to receive Medicaid. If you want Medicaid to cover the cost of long-term care—such as nursing home care, assisted living care, or in-home care—it’s essential to understand how the look-back period impacts you and your family. With the help of an Indiana Medicaid planning attorney, you can learn how to become eligible for Medicaid with the least amount of impact on your assets.

What Is The Look-Back Period For Long-Term Care Medicaid In Indiana?

When you apply for nursing home Medicaid, the government reviews the things that you own—in other words, the value of your assets. There are limits to the type and value of assets you can have to qualify for Medicaid. The look-back period is when Medicaid looks closely at what you did with your assets five years before applying. If you do something that violates Medicaid rules during this period, you may be ineligible for Medicaid.

How Long Is The Look-Back Period For Long-Term Care Medicaid In Indiana?

It’s easy to assume that you may meet Medicaid’s income and asset requirements when looking at your current finances. However, Medicaid will consider your financial affairs leading up to the application—not just at the time of your application.

The point of the look-back period is to prevent people from getting rid of their assets to qualify for long-term care Medicaid. In Indiana, the look-back period is five years from the date of your application. Medicaid may check to see if you gave away or sold assets for less than they were worth. This look-back period may burden those applying within five years, as the penalties for disallowed gifts and transfers mean paying out of pocket for nursing home coverage.  

What If You Gave Away Assets Before The Look-Back Period?

Medicaid won’t look at what you did with your assets before the look-back period. If you gave away assets before the look-back period, you could still be eligible for long-term care Medicaid. Remember that the look-back period is five years. Now imagine that you gave a large gift to a family member seven years ago. In this example, you could still be allowed to get long-term care Medicaid.

Long-Term Care Medicaid Planning Lawyer

Talking to an experienced Medicaid planning attorney can help you navigate the look-back period and prepare you to become eligible for Medicaid in Indiana. The attorneys at Hawkins Elder Law can help you protect assets from counting against you for long-term care Medicaid eligibility. To learn more about planning to apply for Medicaid, reach out to Hawkins Elder Law at (812) 268-8777 or contact us online.

About The Authors

Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins co-author this blog with Thomas E. Hynes, a lawyer admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida who has a background in estate planning and elder law. Jeff and Jennifer are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers. They are also active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Jeff is also a member of the Illinois NAELA Chapter.

Both Hawkins are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois.

Jeff is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and he served as the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.

More Information

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