Ohio Medicaid Planning: What Happens if I’ve Given Away or Transferred Assets in the Last 5 Years?

Proper Ohio Medicaid planning eliminates the need to give away assets to qualify for Medicaid. Asset protection plans from Ohio elder law attorneys enable Medicaid applicants to keep their assets and avoid a penalty for assets transferred or given away during Medicaid’s 5-year look-back.

Since many people fail to plan for the possibility that they might need Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs and other long-term care, it’s not uncommon for these folks to find themselves in the difficult position of having too many assets to qualify for Medicaid. Unfortunately, rather than contact a qualified Ohio elder law attorney’s office, they try to qualify for Medicaid on their own by giving away their home and other transferred assets. This often puts them in a more difficult situation because Medicaid looks back over the past five years of asset history for each applicant and Medicaid will deny eligibility for a number of months equal to the total value of current or improperly transferred assets divided by the average monthly cost of nursing home care in Ohio. There is no maximum ineligibility period.

When applying for Medicaid, an asset protection plan that transfers ownership of all assets into trusts at least five years before the need for Medicaid is the best strategy. Such a plan offers the best options for retaining control of assets without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility. However, when that kind of Ohio Medicaid planning is no longer possible, there are still options.

Ohio Medicaid Planning Options Within the 5-Year Look-back Period

Before applying for Ohio Medicaid, planning your qualification strategy with the help of an Ohio elder law attorney’s office is strongly recommended. A knowledgeable attorney can help you identify the best options for dealing with your assets — options that are not likely to be obvious to individuals not experienced in qualifying for Medicaid.

One strategy that might be recommended when a person has more assets than Medicaid eligibility allows would be to spend those assets on goods and services that benefit the person attempting to qualify for Medicaid. For more information about spending down assets for Medicaid eligibility, please see our article on Ohio Medicaid Spend Down Purchases.

Paying for nursing home expenses for a period of time prior to applying for Medicaid may also be appropriate in some circumstances. For example, if an elderly gentleman gave away his $300,000 house three years prior to his need for Medicaid, this could be an advantageous strategy. Because of the value of the house, Medicaid would deny the gentleman eligibility for more than four years ($300,000 ÷ $6,000 avg. monthly nursing home cost = 50 months). However, in only two years the troublesome event will be outside the 5-year look-back period. If he applies for Medicaid now, he’ll end up paying for four years of nursing home care, but if he waits two years to apply for Medicaid, he’ll only pay for two years of care.

Your Ohio elder law attorney’s office may advise you on other strategies, depending on your circumstances.

To qualify for Medicaid, an asset protection plan must meet certain requirements. Ohio Medicaid planning is best done with the assistance of knowledgeable attorney. In Ohio, the elder law attorney’s office of Gudorf Law Group, LLC, can assist with protecting assets from Medicaid with an asset protection plan. Call our office at 1-877-483-6730 to schedule a free consultation regarding Ohio Medicaid planning.