The law changed - does that mean she's eligible for Medicare now?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My family member was in a nursing home in Kentucky. She had no children and her husband passed away before her. He didn't have a will but she did. Her will was made four years before she went into the nursing home. When she entered the nursing home we were told that Medicare couldn't take her property for her care because at that time the law stated that a will must be made at least three years before entering a home. Several years after she was in the home the law changed and the will had to be made five years before entering. Does this mean that her property can be claimed be the state? How can the law change and back up to the date she entered? Would she just owe what they paid from the time of the law change?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

You should contact an Elder Law attorney as soon as possible because the Medicaid laws do differ significantly from state to state. You refer to "Medicare" in your letter, but it actually is "Medicaid" which is a different program that has the authority in some situations to levy on a home of a Medicaid recipient.

I believe you are confused about the Medicaid law that permits gifts that have been made five years before a person goes into a nursing home being able to escape the grasp of Medicaid when that person dies. Making a Will does not make a gift of the home until the person has died and the Will is probated. Therefore the home is in jeopardy. Again, I suggest that you contact an elder law attorney to see what can be done to help.

Community Answers

Opiegirl answered...

In answer to the woman whose nursing home is looking for another place for her. Check with the laws in your state, they cannot just kick her out. They need to give you a 30 day notice, and you can fight this. They in good faith need to find a solution. It's not like these behaviors are not common.Keep in contact with the social services, it is there job to help with resolutions. If Seroquel does not work, they need to try something else, Is she on enough Seroquel is the other question. Alot depends on the patient and how they respond to said med.Also, is staff trained properly to work with these people. If they are impatient she definitely respond in kind.Hope all turns out for you.