What is the Medicaid look back Period?

The Medicaid look back period is the time period immediately preceding the filing of an application for Medicaid benefits. Applicants can and may be questioned about transfers of assets within the Medicaid look back period.  The Medicaid look back period for most states including the state of Michigan is Sixty (60) months prior to the baseline date for all transfers of assets made after February 8, 2006.

To help illustrate how it works, if the applicant applied for Medicaid benefits on September 1, 2017, the look back period would be from September 1, 2012 until August 31, 2017. When the client applies for Medicaid benefits any gifts or transfers of assets for less than fair market value made within the Medicaid look back period, five years (60 months) of the date of Medicaid application are subject to penalties. It is generally irrelevant to whom the transfers for less than fair market value are made to.  In other words they are not just looking at transfers made to family members. Any gifts or transfers of assets made greater than 5 years (sixty months) of the date of application are not subject to penalties and are considered to be completed gifts for medicaid purposes.

For purposes of the Medicaid look back period, the Baseline Date is the first date that the client was eligible for Medicaid and is one of the following:

  • The client is in a Long term care facility
  • the client is approved for the Medicaid Waiver program
  • The Client is eligible for home health services; or
  • The client is eligible for home help services

The client’s baseline date, for purposes of the Medicaid look back period will not change even if one of the following events happens:

  • The client leaves the Long term care facility.
  • The client is no longer approved the medicaid waiver program;
  • The client no longer needs home help services; or
  • The client no longer needs home health services.