Medicaid is a government-based health insurance for lower-income individuals. To get these benefits, you must qualify under income guidelines. The state will consider assets when determining your eligibility.
Many older adults want to get Medicaid benefits because they offer good coverage for long-term care facilities. But they often have accumulated assets to the point that they do not qualify. Through getting rid of assets, though, they can qualify. However, the state has a lookback period that could ruin these plans.
The lookback period is a time when the state can go backward and use any assets you had at that time towards determining your income for eligibility for Medicaid. In Florida, the lookback period is 60 months.
What it means
When you file for Medicaid, the state will look over the past 60 months to determine if you have gotten rid of any assets of value. If you have sold assets, they will assess whether you lowered the value of the asset below fair market value. If you did, they can count that asset toward your income. The same is true if you gifted away assets; those will count as your income.
The lookback period is in place to prevent people from dumping assets just to qualify for Medicaid. This is a type of fraud, and the state wants to ensure that nobody is allowed to cheat the system. If you had a legitimate reason for disposing of assets and sold them at fair market value, then this should not cause you any issues.