The nursing home look-back period is the length of time Medicaid officials can look back to see whether any transfers have been made, for the sake of qualifying for Medicaid to pay for the nursing home. Medicaid officials are only concerned about the transfer of assets for less than fair market value.
You must disclose all assets for less than fair market value on your Medicaid application. The bottom line is that you cant give all of your assets away today, so that you qualify for Medicaid tomorrow.
In 2012, the look-back period is 60 months; thats 5 years. This is the look-back period only, not the disqualification period.
This means that if you gave away any assets for less than the real value, you will be disqualified for some period of time. It does not mean that you are disqualified for the entire 5 years. The disqualification period is determined by the size of the gift.
Do not try to transfer assets for the sake of qualifying for Medicaid on your own; the process is complex and if you make a mistake, you may be unnecessarily disqualified from receiving Medicaid to pay for your long term care. A mistake may cost you and your family thousands and thousands of dollars. Always work in consultation with an elder law attorney.