Report: Asset transfers more difficult, not impossible

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New asset transfer rules contained in the Deficit Reduction Act make it more difficult for many elderly to qualify for Medicaid-funded nursing home care. But a new report indicates that some people might find other ways of protecting their financial assets.

The Congressional Research Service report also claims that states so far have been generally unsuccessful at preventing the imposition of penalties on those elderly who transfer assets without intending to gain Medicaid eligibility. The report is called "Medicaid Coverage for Long-Term Care: Eligibility, Asset Transfers, and Estate Recovery, as Modified by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005."

The asset transfer provisions will save $2.4 billion from fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2010, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. Signed by President Bush earlier this year, the act increases the "look-back" period from 36 months to 60 months when determining whether beneficiaries made inappropriate transfers of assets.