In the state of NC: at this point we don't know how long to expect that parent to be there, could go home soon, or could be there a lot longer. How would it be looked at if he does stay longer and ends up on Medicaid? If there is a penalty what is it?

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Those are good points. I'd see an attorney who knows the details about how it works and if there are any options. Are you afraid that he won't qualify due to having too large of a bank account? I'd ask the attorney about what legitimate and legal expenses that can be made by the person who may apply at some point, such as medical costs, personal items, care, etc.
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If you think he is going on Medicaid, there is a FIVE year lookback on gifting and transfers. The penalty is imposed by NOT paying for an amount of services equivalent to the gifting transfer. Example - Nursing home costs $150 per day. Person gifted $1,500 to child. That equals 10 days of nursing home that would not be paid for by Medicaid - but that would have to be paid for by person or the family. Don't do it if the person is close to being admitted. Medicaid asset "protection" is best done before a person is in a nursing home. You can see a lawyer familiar with your state's laws to discuss options when your parent comes home. Otherwise, parents would give all their money to their children, expect the federal and state government to pay all their expenses, and Medicaid would be bankrupt month 1.
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