In a segment on proposals to tighten Medicaid's asset transfer rules, National Public Radio's Morning Edition on Tuesday, Oct. 25, featured the comments of New York ElderLawAnswers member attorney Vincent J. Russo.
Russo, who is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, explained how proposals to make Medicaid asset transfer penalties more punitive will disqualify innocent seniors who, for example, help their grandchildren pay for college or give money to their churches or to disaster relief, then need care later on.
Russo used the example of a grandmother who gives a granddaughter $15,000 to help her pay for college. Three years later the grandmother has a stroke and needs nursing home care. Under new rules being considered by Congress, the grandmother would be ineligible for Medicaid coverage of her care for three months (assuming the average cost of nursing home care in her state is $5,000 a month).
"She's going to be told, now you have to come up with three months of nursing home care," Russo said. "She can't get the money back from the college. If she has no other assets to pay for it, how's she going to make the payments?"
Russo said that seniors who can't afford the nursing home bill will most likely be sent home or be stranded in hospitals that may not be able to get paid either.
Also in the Morning Edition segment, the AARP's John Rother said lawmakers are overstating the magnitude of the asset transfer problem.
To listen to the Morning Edition report, go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4973243
For more on the proposed asset transfer rule changes, click here.
For more on the current asset transfer rules, click here.