Ohio Medicaid, Nursing Homes and the “Look-back” Period
April 25th, 2012
When it comes to Ohio Medicaid and nursing homes, one of the most important factors to look at is Medicaid's so-called "look-back" period. The look-back period makes it necessary to do advance Medicaid planning with an Ohio elder law lawyer to avoid an ineligibility period that is likely to drain a person's resources.
When a person applies for Medicaid, the agency looks at the applicant's resources and assets for the five years prior to the date of application. This is the "look-back" period.
If Medicaid determines that the applicant gave away any assets during that five-year period, the applicant can be penalized and declared ineligible for benefits for a period of time. Some transfers of assets are acceptable to Medicaid, such as transferring ownership of a house to a disabled relative, and are considered "proper". Only improper transfers of assets will count against the applicant.
To determine the length of a person's ineligibility, Medicaid divides the total value of the assets transferred improperly and divides it by the average monthly cost of a nursing home in Ohio. The result is the number of months the person is ineligible.
It's important to understand this rule about Ohio Medicaid. Nursing homes are incredibly expensive, often charging $10,000 per month or more, and can easily devour a person's resources within a few months. As you can see, doing Medicaid planning with an Ohio elder law lawyer far in advance of any need for a nursing home is very important.
Ohio Medicaid & Nursing Homes: Qualifying without Penalty
With proper Medicaid planning, an Ohio elder law lawyer can help you protect your assets and resources so that you can qualify for Ohio Medicaid for a nursing home's expense without losing your assets or being penalized.
Most people think that the best way to qualify for Medicaid is to give away their house and other assets. But, as you can see, the look-back period makes that a dangerous proposition that often backfires. Besides, if a person gives away their assets, they no longer have them. They can't use them, and they don't have control over them. Worse yet, the assets are now subject to the recipient's creditors.
However, through proper use of irrevocable trusts, limited liability companies, and other asset protection tools, a good Medicaid planning strategy allows you to retain control of and access to your assets while still qualifying for Medicaid and avoiding an ineligibility period.
But do not wait until you need a nursing home to implement a Medicaid planning strategy. By then it will be too late to protect many of your assets because of the 5-year look-back period. It's important to meet with an Ohio elder law lawyer and plan your strategy long before you need it.
Call Ohio elder law lawyer Ted Gudorf at 1-877-483-6730 to schedule a free consultation regarding Medicaid planning and Ohio Medicaid for nursing homes.