Planning for Life

Attorney Sarah Hartline Gets MassHealth Transfer Penalty Overturned

Posted by Estey Silva on March 24, 2020


The MassHealth Board of Hearings ruled in favor of Attorney Sarah Hartline’s client last week in a case involving a transfer of assets from a nursing home resident to her son and a question of whether the transfer was done with the intent to qualify for MassHealth benefits, which would result in a significant disqualification period.

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Topics: nursing homes, Massachusetts, MassHealth, elder law, Medicaid, disqualifying transfer

Now or Never, MassHealth to Close Door on Pooled Disability Trusts -- Or Perhaps Not

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 17, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis


Nursing home residents and their families have long used pooled disability trusts to shelter funds for their future needs that are not covered by MassHealth. These may include extra therapies or medical care, entertainment, hiring geriatric care managers, or the costs of maintaining a home. The funds can also be used to pay nursing homes for any gaps in coverage by MassHealth that sometimes occur.

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Topics: MassHealth, disqualifying transfer, pooled disability trust

Court Faults 'Arbitrary and Capricious' MassHealth Hearing Decision

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 26, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis


In the case of Pauline Coko vs. Daniel Tsai, Director of the Office of Medicaid (Essex Sup. Ct. CA No. 2018-00071-A, December 13, 2018), Judge Timothy Q. Feeley faults the arbitrary and capricious conduct of a MassHealth hearing officer in imposing a 193-day transfer penalty for four transfers by Pauline Coko totaling $68,632 in value.

Disqualifying Transfers

The transfers in question included a deed of Mrs. Coko's life interest in her home to her daughter, two disbursements from Mrs. Coko's bank account, and the gift of her 2003 Mitsubishi valued at $1,365 to a granddaughter.

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Topics: MassHealth, disqualifying transfer

Promissory Notes and Medicaid Planning - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 15, 2013

Medicaid-Elder-Law-Attorney-WellesleyPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

By Harry S. Margolis

A case out of Oklahoma, Lemmons v. Lake (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Okla., No. CIV–12–1075–C, March 21, 2013), highlights how promissory notes may be used in Medicaid ("MassHealth" in Massachusetts) planning.

The Facts of the Case

Juanita Lemmons transferred her farm and her Edwards Jones investment account to her son, Gary Lemmons, in exchange for a promissory note in the amount $84,600, and immediately thereafter applied for Medicaid coverage. A promissory note is a contract to pay a certain amount of money at specified times.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, disqualifying transfer, promissory note

Maguire Decision Limits MassHealth Caretaker Child Exception

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 14, 2012

Masshealth-Caretaker-Child-Exemption-Elder-Law-WellesleyBy By Harry S. Margolis

MassHealth policy requires that when a gift of property from parent to a child or anyone else occurs within five years of an application for coverage, a penalty period must be endured, with some exceptions. One of those exceptions is a gift of a home to a so-called "caretaker" child. In the case of Maguire v. Director of the Office of Medicaid (Mass. Ct. of Appeals No. 11-P-792, Oct. 4, 2012), the Massachusetts Court of Appeals upheld the denial of this exception in a case where a daughter helped her mother stay at home. The court found that the mother might have been cared for in assisted living, rather than a nursing home.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, MassHealth, disqualifying transfer

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