The sad truth is that most people, living on savings and retirement income, can’t afford a place to live when they need care. They don’t have long term care insurance, and nursing home care in Ohio is costly, averaging more than $200 a day.

There is a solution available, Medicaid, the first choice of most people for funding nursing home care. But Medicaid is far from easy. You must be 65 or older, or blind or otherwise disabled, to qualify.

Medicaid also requires that you have modest financial resources. It is a need-based program. It expects you to “spend down” your income and your resources in order to qualify.

This is the challenge that causes most people anxiety. It is also the reason to start thinking about long-term care well before you need it.

It is easy to imagine your life savings steadily disappearing from your bank account. You wonder how long you can afford to live.

Solutions to the predicament

Medicaid planning often involves creating an irrevocable trust, and moving your valuable assets into that trust. Another option is giving away assets to family members.

Ohio law, however, doesn’t allow you to make these transfers when you need Medicaid help. You must make these changes five years before applying or you will not qualify for help.

If you put off planning too long

Even if did not plan early (pre-planning), there are still things you can do (crisis or last-minute planning) to obtain the care you need.

It is important to work with elder law professionals who understand the often complex and sometimes contradictory rules of Medicaid. The worst result is when the plan you follow itself disqualifies you from coverage.

Eve n if you feel you have put off planning too long, we at Mahaffey & Associates LLC can help you make the best of your situation.