The Gerontologist
 QUICK SEARCH:   [advanced]


This Article
Right arrow Full Text
Right arrow Full Text (PDF)
Right arrow Alert me when this article is cited
Right arrow Alert me if a correction is posted
Right arrow Similar articles in this journal
Right arrow Similar articles in PubMed
Right arrow Alert me to new issues of the journal
Right arrow Download to citation manager
Citing Articles
Right arrow Citing Articles via Google Scholar
Google Scholar
Right arrow Articles by Lee, J.
Right arrow Articles by Tanenbaum, S.
Right arrow Search for Related Content
Right arrow PubMed Citation
Right arrow Articles by Lee, J.
Right arrow Articles by Tanenbaum, S.
The Gerontologist 46:6-13 (2006)
© 2006 The Gerontological Society of America

Medicaid and Family Wealth Transfer

Jinkook Lee, PhD1, Hyungsoo Kim, PhD2 and Sandra Tanenbaum, PhD3

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Jinkook Lee, Department of Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail: lee.42{at}

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.

Key Words: Medicaid • Medicaid estate planning • Family wealth transfer • Private transfer • Crowding out

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2006 by The Gerontological Society of America.