Congressional Analyst Sees Blurry Medicaid LTC Asset Transfer Picture
How much do asset transfers threaten the solvency and political legitimacy of the Medicaid nursing home program?[@@]
Some experts say that many older U.S. residents often transfer homes, cash and other assets to children or other relatives to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits, which normally are supposed to go only to older individuals of modest means.
Julie Stone-Axelrad, a legislative analyst at the Congressional Research Service, testified at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Wednesday that the data available is too limited for anyone to come up with an accurate estimate of the current prevalence of Medicaid LTC asset transfers or a forecast of future transfer activity.
“One question for which we do have information is the potential size of the pool of assets that could, but would not necessarily, be protected,” Stone-Axelrad said, according to a written version of her testimony posted on the Senate Finance Committee Web site.
A recent study using data from the 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation found that 84% of U.S. individuals age 85 and older have assets, including home equity, that would enable them to cover 1 year of nursing home costs, at a cost of $70,000 per year; 9% have assets that would pay 1 to 3 years of care; and 7% have assets that would cover at least 3 years of care.