Fifteen Myths Regarding Medicaid Nursing Home Benefits in Maine Myth 12 and 13

This series highlights the eligibility rules for Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) nursing home benefits and dispels certain myths the families that work with our office often hear.

Myth [12: I Should Transfer My Assets Now to Get Medicaid Benefits in the Future.

The Truth: Most elder law attorneys discourage their clients from making premature transfers of money and property. While an elder is healthy and living independently, retained assets represent freedom of choice for the elder. Transfers to even the most trusted of children may expose the transferred assets to financial problems the child might encounter, like lawsuits or divorce. Most importantly, Medicaid law and the MaineCare rules are constantly changing. A transfer made today may be scrutinized under very different rules in the future—rules that could leave the then-impoverished elder ineligible for government benefits necessary for their care.

Myth 13: The State Will Take My House.

The Truth: Federal law requires each state to seek reimbursement of medical assistance paid through the Medicaid program. In Maine, repayment is pursued after the death of the MaineCare recipient through a claim against the decedent’s estate. Maine’s DHHS does not take a home or even file a lien against a home while a MaineCare recipient is living, but the individual in the nursing home is often forced to sell the home when there is no longer adequate income to maintain it.

Rachel Trafton, Esq
Maine Elder Law Firm