New Hampshire creates new asset transfer rules

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New Hampshire's governor and the state's top health official have devised new rules to prevent the inappropriate transfer of assets by nursing home residents who are Medicaid beneficiaries. Those rules have been sent to federal officials for approval.

The language in the proposed rules represent a compromise. They are designed to prevent fraud without denying coverage to people who made gifts but must require nursing home care, according to Gov. John Lynch (D) and Health Commissioner John Stephen.

Compromise language in a hardship provision allows exemption for anyone whose health or life would be endangered if he or she were denied Medicaid coverage. It would also exempt elderly who lacked the mental capacity to understand the Medicaid consequences of gifts they or their legal agents make.

Other specifics of the new rules: They would extend the "look-back" period for examining gifts from 3 to 5 years. They also would deny Medicaid for violators starting when the person otherwise would have qualified for Medicaid, not from the date of the gift.