Although Congress passed a new law February 1 further restricting the ability of the elderly to transfer assets before qualifying for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, many people in most states will still have time to plan under the old rules. While the new law applies to all transfers made after the date of enactment (and perhaps those made on the date of enactment, though this in unclear), it gives the states a grace period to come into compliance if state legislation is required to put the new rules into effect. In most states, the old rules will likely apply to transfers if the Medicaid application is filed before the state passes the complying legislation. So it may not be too late to plan, and in many cases not too late to transfer assets.
Such states have until the first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after the end of the legislature's next session (or the end of the next year of a two-year session) to comply. For instance, if a state's next legislative session begins in September 2006 and ends in December 2006, the deadline is January 1, 2007. If the session ends in January 2007, then the deadline will be April 1, 2007.
If you have considered protecting some assets for your loved ones in case you later require long-term care, you should contact a qualified elder law attorney in your state without delay. To find an ElderLawAnswers member attorney in your area, click here.