New CMS policies help nursing homes navigate rigid asset transfer rules

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Thursday it is offering new policies that help protect certain nursing home residents from the rigid rules regarding asset transfers.

Under one program, people who purchase long-term care insurance policies may be eligible to guard their assets from state recovery. Currently, tough penalties in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 discourage people from transferring their assets to family members as a way to achieve Medicaid eligibility.

CMS also is taking steps to protect those who cannot pay for nursing home care due to penalties stemming from improper asset transfers. It is requiring that states make hardship waivers available if the period of Medicaid ineligibility would endanger the individual's life or deprive them of food and other necessities. CMS also presented guidance to improve the coordination of Medicare and Medicaid services for dual eligibles.

For more information on the new policies, go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/smdl/smd/list.asp.
To view the how-to guides for Medicare-Medicaid integration, go to http://www.cmsh.hhs.gov/DualEligible/04StatesGuidetoIntegratedMedicareandMedicaidModels.asp.