Watch Your Language: Lookback Period

Orange City Iowa Estate Planning

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If you've heard anything about Medicaid, you've probably heard about the lookback period. In Iowa, the lookback period is the period of time starting with the day you apply for Medicaid and extending back through time for sixty months. We break that definition down after the jump. [Read More]

The lookback period is the first major hurdle when seeking Medicaid for long-term care.

With the lookback period, time literally is money

When Medicaid and time travel combine, the result is the lookback period. In Iowa, which is the period of time starting with the day you apply for Medicaid and extending back through time for sixty months. Confusing?  Let’s break it down:

The period of time starting with the day you apply…

The penalty period doesn’t start on the first of the month in which you apply for Medicaid. It doesn’t start on the first of the month after the month in which you apply for Medicaid.

It also doesn’t start on the day you made the gift, although sometimes even elder law attorneys will talk about it that way during a planning session.

No, the lookback period starts on the exact date you apply for Medicaid.
[clickToTweet tweet=”When Medicaid and time travel combine, the result is the lookback period. http://ow.ly/KGky302OCR4″ quote=”When Medicaid and time travel combine, the result is the lookback period.”]

…extending back through time…

This is important. It’s why the lookback period doesn’t start on the day the gift is made. Calculating the lookback period based on the date of application can be a double-edged sword, either giving your Medicaid planning lawyer flexibility or forcing a longer delay than originally desired when deciding on the timing of your Medicaid application.

…for sixty months.

Yes, sixty months is the same as five years. But the lookback period isn’t five years, it’s sixty months. By the same token, it’s not 1,825 (or 1,826 or 1,827) days. It’s 60 months.

 

Calculating the lookback period can be confusing if you don’t know what you are doing.  Talk to your elder law attorney if you have any questions when applying for Medicaid.

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