The "Lookback Period" vs. the "Ineligibility Period"
The look back period begins on the date the individual is both institutionalized and applies for Ohio Medicaid assistance.
The look back period currently is five years. (See "New Federal Medicaid Changes")
A transfer made outside the look back period is not counted against the institutionalized person.
A transfer made within the look back period is either "proper" or "improper", depending on whether the transfer was made to a qualified person, such as a spouse or dependent, and depending on the purpose of the transfer.
An improper transfer is assigned a penalty of time where the institutionalized spouse is ineligible for Ohio Medicaid. This is the "ineligibility period".
The ineligibility period is determined by dividing the amount of the transfer by a divestment penalty divisor.
Trap for the unwary: The penalty period begins on the date the individual is otherwise eligible for Medicaid but for the transfer(s), meaning once an unmarried individual is otherwise under $1,500, or once the assets of the married couple are reduced below their resource allowance.
A "sale" for less than full market value is a gift to the extent full value was not received in return.
NOTE: Gifting may be the least beneficial of planning strategies, and because of the myriad of penalties, as well as adverse tax and liability consequences, should be done only upon the direction of an experienced advisor.