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Medicaid's nursing home coverage and asset transfers


  • William F. Bassett


Medicaid covers the costs of a long nursing home stay. This coverage may create an incentive for the elderly to transfer their assets to their children in order to qualify for Medicaid before entering a nursing home. Previous researchers had found little evidence that such behavior was widespread or that asset transfers were large. However, data from AHEAD suggest that the self-assessed probability of entering a nursing home is a significant determinant of the likelihood of making an asset transfer. The budgetary implications of these Medicaid-induced asset transfers are probably fairly small, but not insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • William F. Bassett, 2004. "Medicaid's nursing home coverage and asset transfers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    3. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 151-182, July.
    4. Norton, Edward C, 1995. "Elderly Assets, Medicaid Policy, and Spend-Down in Nursing Homes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 41(3), pages 309-329, September.
    5. David M. Cutler & Louise Sheiner, 1994. "Policy Options for Long-Term Care," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 395-442 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alvin E. Headen Jr., 1993. "Economic Disability and Health Determinants of the Hazard of Nursing Home Entry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 80-110.
    7. Powers, Elizabeth T., 1998. "Does means-testing welfare discourage saving? evidence from a change in AFDC policy in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 33-53, April.
    8. Jonathan S. Feinstein & Chih-Chin Ho, 2000. "Elderly Asset Management and Health: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kristin J. Kleinjans & Jinkook Lee, 2006. "The link between individual expectations and savings: Do nursing home expectations matter?," Economics Working Papers 2006-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

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    Medicaid ; Nursing home care ; Inheritance and succession;

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