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I need to do a resource test for Medicaid. What does it mean?

In New York, people often need Medicaid coverage in order to pay for nursing home care or home health care for elderly loved ones. When the state determines eligibility, there are situations in which, although the intended recipient's income and resources may exceed guideline limits, he or she may still be deemed eligible for coverage.

In such situations, the state will conduct resource testing of the individual's income and available assets. The state considers the person's available cash, bank accounts, life insurance policies and other assets that are easily convertible into cash.

New York will also review the person's asset transfers for the five years preceding the person's application for Medicaid. Assets transferred for less than their fair market value or for free are considered suspect. Property transfers of an interest in their home to a person's spouse, children under age 21 or to a sibling who has an equal interest in the home do not count against the applicant. Other types of transfers may result in the institution of a penalty period during which the person will be ineligible for benefits.

Certain types of income and assets are disregarded and subtracted from the gross income and asset total of the individual, meaning those categories are not counted against the applicant for eligibility determination. In this way, people whose gross income and assets exceed the limits may still meet eligibility requirements after resource testing.

When people are planning for their own end of life care and needs, they may want to consider including Medicaid planning as part of their planning process. By planning ahead, people can try to ensure any needed care will be covered by Medicaid in order to save their families and loved ones costly expenses associated with nursing home and home healthcare fees. They may benefit by speaking with an elder law attorney.

Source: New York State Department of Health, "Medicaid in New York State", November 01, 2014

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