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2005 Testimony

Testimony Before The House Human Services Committee

Clara Sue Price, Chairman

Regarding House Bill 1281 - Medicaid eligibility and long-term care facilities

January 19, 2005

Chairman Price, members of the committee, I am David Zentner, Director of Medical Services for the Department of Human Services. I appear before you to provide information regarding this bill.

This bill creates three new subsections relating to eligibility for the North Dakota Medicaid program. The first subsection creates a debt for either the transferor or transferee, when assets are transferred at less than fair market value that results in Medicaid ineligibility. We have no problem with this subsection.

The second subsection allows nursing facilities to collect information regarding income and assets from applicants to admission. We also have no problem with this subsection.

The third subsection permits individuals who have transferred assets, at less than fair market value, to obtain the assets from the transferee, and then become eligible for Medicaid if the transfer penalty would deprive the individual of nursing care services, and compensation equal to the fair market value of the asset is paid to the nursing facility.

The language indicates that an individual who complied with the above requirement would be determined to be automatically eligible for the Medicaid program. This is not permissible, as anyone applying for Medicaid eligibility must still meet all other requirements. We could not automatically enroll an individual into the Medicaid program simply because they agreed to take back transferred assets that were given away at less than fair market value.

Under current policy, if a disqualifying transfer is returned before a Medicaid decision is made, the transfer is not considered when determining eligibility; but the returned asset would be included in determining if the applicant was eligible for Medicaid. If the assets are returned after a Medicaid decision is made the transfer ends at that time, and the returned assets would be considered when determining if the individual qualified for the Medicaid program in future months. An individual can use those returned assets to pay for medical services including nursing facility services. This policy follows current federal law regarding the transfer of assets at less than fair market value. We are unable to deviate from this policy.

I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.


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