Medicaid and Family Wealth Transfer

TitleMedicaid and Family Wealth Transfer
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLee, J, Kim, H, Tanenbaum, S
JournalThe Gerontologist
Call Numberpubs_2006_Lee_etal.pdf
KeywordsAdult children, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance

Purpose: This study examines whether the relationship between making familial wealth transfers and becoming a Medicaid recipient sheds light on the current debate about Medicaid estate planning, whereby some elders transfer their assets to their families to qualify for Medicaid. Design and Methods: Using the Health and Retirement Study, we tracked a national sample of community-based elders who did not receive Medicaid at the 1993 baseline interview but became Medicaid recipients during a 10-year time period and examined wealth transfers for these new Medicaid beneficiaries. Results: Among elders aged 70 or older who did not receive Medicaid in 1993, 16.4 became Medicaid recipients over 10 years. Among these new Medicaid recipients, 17.9 transferred their wealth to family members before receiving Medicaid benefits, with an average transfer amount of 8,507 during the 2 years prior to receiving Medicaid benefits. In addition, 15.2 of community-residing elders entered a nursing home during the 10-year period, and 26.3 of these were covered by Medicaid. Of these new Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes, 12.6 transferred wealth to their families in the mean amount of 4,112. Implications: Familial wealth transfers do occur before changes in Medicaid eligibility in a small, but nontrivial, number of cases, but the amount transferred is modest, especially among nursing home residents. This finding implies that policies to reduce Medicaid long-term-care expenditures by limiting such transfers may not be very effective.

Endnote Keywords

Medicaid/Estate Values/Family transfers, structure

Endnote ID


Citation Key7071