Report: CMS struggles to collect asset-transferring evidence

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is finding it difficult to quantify how many people transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid-covered long-term care services, a new report says.

Much of the available evidence appears to be anecdotal, the General Accountability Office notes in an Oct. 3 report. Moreover, Medicaid law makes it easy for attorneys to help those seeking Medicaid for nursing home care, CMS said in response to the investigation.

Another obstacle is states' asset transfer policies. States are constantly altering their methods to identify and address the transfers, the report said.

Medicaid financed $93 billion in long-term care costs in fiscal year 2004, the report added. As lawmakers attempt to enact Medicaid spending cuts in the fiscal year 2006 budget, they are taking a closer look at reducing asset transfers. The full report is available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05968.pdf.