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Westchester Elder Law Attorney Anthony J. Enea Urges Estate Planning Haste Ahead of New Medicaid Home Care Lookback Period

Westchester County, N.Y. (January 19, 2022) – For more than a decade, New Yorkers had been able to receive Medicaid home care services without fear of a lookback period. On April 1, 2022, however, that may come to an end. Westchester County elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP, with offices in White Plains and Somers, N.Y., recently shed light on the upcoming 30-month lookback period for non-exempt asset transfers (gifts) in an article published by the New York State Society of CPAs, urging seniors and the disabled to act now while there is still time to plan.

“The new 30-month lookback period will apply to all home care services and will be calculated the same manner as the penalty period for skilled nursing home Medicaid – using the regional rate as the divisor,” said Anthony J. Enea, who has spent 35 years protecting the rights of seniors, the disabled and their families. “For the Northern Metropolitan area, which includes Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Dutchess Counties, the regional rate is currently $13,399 per month. As an example, this translates to approximately 15 months of Medicaid home care ineligibility for gifting $200,000 once the lookback period is active.”

One important consideration with regard to the lookback period, notes Enea, is that spousal refusal has been left untouched. A married person can still transfer assets to their spouse and, if the spouse has assets and/or income above the permitted amounts, he or she can execute a spousal refusal, allowing the ill spouse to be eligible for Medicaid. Another option, still available for a single person with resources above the permitted amount ($16,800), is to implement a Medicaid Crisis Plan. In this scenario, approximately half of their resources will be used to pay for their home care and the other half will be protected by gifting to a third party.

“Regardless of one’s marital status, the changes in the rules illustrate the need for seniors and the disabled to be proactive in making asset transfers and start both the 30-month lookback period for Medicaid home care and the 60-month lookback period for Medicaid nursing home in advance of their needing care,” explained Enea. “Without non-exempt transfers being made, the clock never begins to run and the ability to shelter one’s assets from the cost of long-term care becomes much more difficult, and a greater percentage of one’s life savings will be exposed to the cost of care.”

Enea’s article, “The ‘Last Call’ for Medicaid Home Care Without a Lookback Period for Transfers Has, Perhaps, Arrived,” offers further details on the changes and is available at: https://bit.ly/3qsNo84.

An “AV” Rated Preeminent Attorney (Martindale-Hubbell) and strong leader in Westchester’s legal community, Mr. Enea is president of the Westchester County Bar Foundation and chair of the New York State Bar Association’s 50+ Lawyers Section. He is also a past president of the Westchester County Bar Association and past chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law and Special Needs Section. Mr. Enea’s practice areas include wills, trusts & estates, elder law; Medicaid asset protection planning; Medicaid applications (home care and nursing home) and special needs planning.

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is located at 245 Main Street in White Plains, N.Y. with additional offices in Somers, N.Y. For more information or to schedule a consultation,
914-948-1500or visit www.esslawfirm.com.

About Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is an AV preeminent rated elder law firm with offices in White Plains and Somers, N.Y. The practice concentrates on Elder Law; Medicaid Planning; Nursing Home and Home Care Applications; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Guardianships; Estate Litigation; Supplemental Needs Trusts; and Special Needs Planning. Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP serves Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Queens and is committed to providing the highest quality legal services to seniors, the disabled and their families. Visit the firm online at www.esslawfirm.com.

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Anthony J. Enea
Elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, member, Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP