60 Seconds with... Stephen Moses, President, Center for LTC Reform

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Q: You say providers may wrongly be fearful of Medicaid-eligibility restrictions Congress passed earlier this year, such as increasing the look-back period. Why? A: We've eliminated the biggest reason people transfer assets: to reduce the penalty by half. All these thousands of attorneys and planners have been recommending this "half a loaf" transfer practice. They can't anymore, or they'll be eligible for malpractice. Nursing homes should be publicizing the rule. This is absolutely a good thing.

Q: How will operators be able to tell if this really is benefiting them?

A: You'll see it in time as these so-called charity cases don't come in, in anything like the numbers they've heard. It's a great benefit to the states and Medicaid. But it's a much bigger benefit to nursing homes. If they play this right and promote it and get the word out, more people will be paying privately.

Q: When will we be able to see positive effects?

A: You should start seeing some results in a matter of months, but you probably won't see the full impact for about three years. You will pick up the extra private pay over a period of time.

Q: Will moving the home equity exemption from unlimited to $500,000 also help a great deal?

A: It will be $250,000 next year, and $50,000 the year after that. When we get it to $50,000, people will start to use their home equity, and more will be private payers.