Retired adults in Ohio usually rely on Medicare for their health needs. Medicare will cover emergency treatment and routine healthcare interventions. However, Medicare does not cover more intensive medical needs, such as having a nurse come to someone’s house every day or the cost of living in a nursing home. Even long-term rehabilitation may not be eligible for Medicare coverage.
Older adults with support needs sometimes require Medicaid benefits. Those who may eventually need to move into a nursing home will apply for Medicaid to cover those costs, but they may face challenges if they do not plan ahead of time.
Medicaid looks back at years of records
When the state evaluates whether or not someone should receive Medicaid coverage, their assets and income influence the final decision. Current income and resources are only part of the equation. The state also looks back at 60 months or five years of personal financial records to determine if someone qualifies.
Any large gifts or transfers of property during that lookback period will trigger a penalty. The state will expect someone to pay for their own care for a specific number of months based on the value of the assets transferred or gifted during the lookback period.
If someone wants to qualify for Medicaid quickly and without any penalties, they will need to plan at least five years before they think they need benefits. Medicaid planning and other forms of long-term care planning are key aspects of elder law.
Reviewing one’s financial situation and likely future Medicaid eligibility may help someone get the support they need while preserving personal resources later in life when they are financially vulnerable.