The Medicaid penalty period does not work that way. A Medicaid penalty period will not begin until the person making the transfer has (1) moved to a nursing home, (2) spent down to the asset limit for Medicaid eligibility, (3) applied for Medicaid coverage, and (4) been approved for coverage but for the transfer. In other words, the penalty period does not begin until the nursing home resident is in the nursing home and out of funds. For example, if an individual in a state where the average cost of care is $5,000 a month transfers $100,000 on April 1, 2013, moves to a nursing home on April 1, 2014, and spends down to Medicaid eligibility on April 1, 2015, that is when the 20-month penalty period will begin, and it will not end until December 1, 2016. For more information about Medicaid’s asset transfer rules,click here. If you are considering applying for Medicaid, we recommend you consult with an elder law attorney.