When a disqualifying transfer (such as a gift) is made, a period of ineligibility from MassHealth can be caused. If the transfer is undone, and assets are returned, the period of ineligibility goes away. The return of gifted assets is known under federal Medicaid law and MassHealth regulation as a “cure.” If only part of what was given away is returned, that return of gifted assets is known as a “partial cure.”
Since the lookback period when filing a MassHealth application is five (5) years, any gift or below-market sale is not safe for the following five (5) years. Therefore, no gift or below-market sale should be made without considering whether a cure will be possible during that timeframe.
Under a peculiar wording of the MassHealth regulation that allows cures, there is a possibility that a cure or partial cure to a married couple can be done the wrong way. The regulation states that the return of the assets must go to the MassHealth applicant. A return of assets to the community (i.e., at-home) spouse can therefore be treated as an invalid cure, even if it was the community spouse who originally made the gift.