Mentor OH Medicaid Attorney
Serving Northeast Ohio
Medicaid can be a highly beneficial program for many individuals as they age and their need for long-term care increases. However, the qualification and application process can be confusing and challenging to navigate. Moseman Law Office can offer you the support and knowledge you need to determine if you are qualified for Medicaid and ensure your financial well-being as you navigate disability or age-related long-term care.
Qualifying For Medicaid
To qualify for long-term Medicaid coverage in Ohio, you must be a resident of Ohio and have one of the following conditions: legally blind, disabled, aged, or a limiting physical factor. These conditions also must require you to need home care services or live in a supportive care facility. The timing of these events and your medical history are also relevant, as eligibility includes a look-back period where your needs are assessed.
The assessment to determine if you are qualified for Medicaid is called a PASSAR. The PASSAR includes looking at various aspects of your life, but one of the most important areas are your assets. If you are single, your assets must not exceed $2000 to qualify and must not exceed $3000 for married couples. There are different limits if only one spouse is applying for Medicaid, discussed below.
When reviewing your assets, certain assets are exempt and will not be considered when determining your eligibility for Medicaid coverage. These include:
- Applicant’s residence
- Home goods and furniture
- Auto vehicles
- Wedding or engagement rings
- Business property, if essential to support
- Term life insurance, or whole life insurance if the face value is less than $1500
- Irrevocable burial or funeral contracts
Before you begin the Medicaid application process, we recommend reviewing all of your assets with an attorney so they can help maximize the value of each asset for both you and your spouse, if applicable.
Protecting Your Assets Under Medicaid
Planning ahead can help you protect your assets when you apply for Medicaid. In Ohio, the Medicaid application process includes a five-year look-back period to determine your eligibility. They will review the transfer of all assets for the past five years, and if any were transferred for less than fair market value, a period of ineligibility will be instated. This includes giving assets to your family members or children as gifts.
We recommend using a Medicaid trust to protect your assets when applying for Medicaid. This irrevocable trust allows the applicant and their spouse to transfer their assets to it without being the beneficiary. They no longer control the asset or can benefit from them. This trust must be established at least five years before applying for Medicaid to avoid the look-back period.
Additionally, you can opt for long-term care insurance with a five-year coverage provision. This can buy you some time to work with an attorney to transfer your assets properly but is often very expensive. We recommend working with an attorney to determine the best route for protecting your assets under Medicaid.
Impacts On Your Spouse
If only one individual of a couple is applying for Medicaid, their spouse remaining at home, called a community spouse, can maintain certain assets for their care. Proper planning can ensure that the community spouse has access to as many assets as possible.
If an individual applies for Medicaid, their spouse who remains at home can maintain half of the couple’s combined assets for their care, up to $123,000. This money can be fully retained by the community spouse and does not need to be used to pay for care for the spouse on Medicaid. If the spouse on Medicaid is still earning income, the community spouse can also retain these funds.
When the individual receiving Medicaid benefits dies, Ohio has a policy in place to recover assets that were previously exempt. That means that assets such as homes, cars, etc., are now available for the state to claim, up to the amount paid for the benefit recipient’s care during their lifetime.
If the community spouse is still living in the home or using certain assets, the collection will not be made until their death or the assets are no longer needed, such as if they apply for Medicaid benefits. Prior planning can help protect these assets under very specific exemptions, so work with an attorney as early as possible to ensure the best outcome for you and your loved ones.