My husband and I transferred our house to our kids (in their 20s) because people told us that we must do it in order to qualify for Medicare. And so, we did it. But now I am hearing that if we accept any Medicare such as nursing home coverage help in the future, Medicare will come back and liquidate the house by selling it. So is that true? Does it mean that my husband cannot have Medicare pay for nursing home if he goes to it in the future (maybe 7-10 years from now)? He's going to turn 65 years old this year. I still plan to live at the house until it is time for me to go to the nursing home.

If my husband ends up in the nursing home in the future, does that mean Medicare will come after the house and it would have to be sold? It's because I will not have any money since I am unemployed and have little savings to pay for the nursing home. Or will they go to my kids and put the whole Medicare debt on them forcing them to sell the home because they cannot cover the debt since nursing expenses are expensive in massachusetts? My kids are not likely going to pay for any of the nursing expenses and will only give me a place to stay at the house until I go to the nursing home. I tried asking some lawyers, but he is not giving me any answers (actually he was the one who urged me to transfer it at less than FMV in the first place unfortunately).

Please provide any insight/comments that you may have on this. It will be much appreciated. Thank you.

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I believe you are thinking of Medicaid, not Medicare. When your husband turns 65, he can qualify for Medicare which has nothing to do with your finances. That is a way to get health insurance once a person turns 65.

By transferring the house to your kids, if neither your husband nor you needs nursing home care or other Medicaid services for five years from now, then it should not be a problem. The house would be theirs. That's what's called the five year "look back." Medicaid looks back into your finances to see if you've transferred assets to your family members just to qualify for Medicaid. If you did so five years or more before either of you needed Medicaid, then there shouldn't be a problem.

If your husband did go on Medicaid because he needed nursing home care that you couldn't pay for, they'd still let you live in the house. After you sold the house they would then likely take the money out of the assets.

I do wonder about this attorney you saw. He or she should know Medicaid law and be able to explain it all to you. If he can't, you should see an elder law attorney. Every state has a little different twist on Medicaid, and some are starting to try to recover money from adult children. Please see an expert to get this all laid out for you so you know just where you are with your financial planning.

Good luck,
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Emma - Medicare doesn't care about assets; Medicaid does.

Medicaid pays for NH skilled nursing care for about 60% of all NH residents nationwide. Medicaid requires that you have very limited assets and income to qualify. Roughly it's about 2K in income each month and 2K in non-exempt assets.
Medicaid can look back for 5 years of finances and other info on you to make sure that there have been no transfer of assets done just to make you eligible for Medicaid. Like they don't want you to deed over your house to your grandkid for $ 100 or other below market value amount. If you do gift or transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid, they can impose a transfer penalty. Each state has a different penalty because it is based on what your state reinburses NH for Medicaid. Like in TX the penalty is about $ 145 a day, so a 20,000 car you gave to your kid would mean a transfer penalty of 139 days in which you would have to private pay for the NH. So if you applied for Medicaid today, they could look at and require you to provide for all banking, taxes, property records from this year (2013) back to 2008.

Your home is an exempt asset under Medicaid.You did not need to gift it but it would upon death be subject to a claim or lein on the house by Medicaid. This is done by a program called MERP. Medicaid will not and does not take your home or liquidate the home. Medicaid will however via MERP have a claim or lein on the house, try to recoup their payments by getting a part of the proceeds of the sale of the home after death. This is done in probate court.

Some people want to keep their house but avoid MERP. There are a couple of experts on this site who have lots of knowledge on how to do this properly so that you don't run into a transfer penalty. Some people keep their home and are in a NH under Medicaid, and they have family pay for the taxes, insurance, etc on the home as the family will be filing an MERP exemption when they die. There are all sorts of different options, some work better for some, not so much for others.

You gave your house to your kids, what's done is done. If you don't need Medicaid, until after 2018, you are past the 5 year mark so there will be no issue with Medicaid. So do your best to have you & your hubby stay healthy until 2019!
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