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General Accountability Office Releases New Report on Medicaid Eligibility

The title of the report, released June 23, 2014, is “Financial Characteristics of Approved Applicants and Methods Used to Reduce Assets to Qualify for Nursing Home Coverage.”  The General Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed 294 approved Medicaid nursing home applications in 3 states:  New York, Florida and South Carolina as part of its study.
 
The study is 52 pages long and can be found on the GAO website, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-473.  Below are a few of the findings made in this extensive study:
 
1.  41% of applicants had total resources, countable and noncountable, of $2,500 or less.  14% had over $100,000 in total resources.
 
2.  The GAO report identified 4 “main methods” used by applicants to reduce countable assets:  1) Purchasing allowable goods and services, like prepaid funeral arrangements; 2) Converting countable assets into a stream of income; 3) Gifting; 4) Increasing the assets a community spouse is allowed to keep.
 
3.  Eligibility workers who spoke directly with GAO employees identified bank statements as the most useful source of information when determining financial eligibility for Medicaid.
 
We will continue to keep you posted on any further developments related to this report.
 
As always, our goal is to provide tools and updates that support you as you navigate the growth and vitality of your elder law practice. If you have any questions on how ElderCounsel  can partner with you to increase your practice efficiencies - from education to document drafting software or practice development systems- please schedule a brief consultation, call us at (888) 789-9908, or email us at info@eldercounsel.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon and hope you find these updates beneficial to your practice.
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