Elder Law Services

– Elder Law Services

In 2018, in Summit County, Ohio, the average monthly nursing home cost for a semi-private room was $7,733 and for a private room, it was $8,638 monthly or $103,656 annually. Long term care costs are not covered by Medicare or regular health insurance. Privately paying for nursing home costs is often not a sustainable option. Long term care insurance policies are rare and may only partially cover the monthly costs. As Nursing home costs continue to escalate, clients need to plan ahead for this eventuality, including whether a Medicaid application will be necessary to pay for those costs. Most people requiring long term care will eventually require Medicaid. Careful planning for both married couples and single persons is crucial for asset protection, including Medicaid & Nursing Home Planning, and preservation of family wealth. Ideally, the planning will take place before a crisis occurs, but even in the face of crisis, there are steps that can be taken to avoid financial disaster.

Medicaid eligibility is based upon the applicant and spouse’s income and assets at the “snapshot” date or time of application. Planning before that date may include proper gifting, spend down on allowance expenses, irrevocable trusts and other strategies to protect family wealth.

In order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant must satisfy residency requirements and be an Ohio citizen, have a medical professional establish the level of care needed, meet the income eligibility requirements and be under the assets limits. A spouse’s income and assets will be included in detennining eligibility for Medicaid.

Medicaid looks back five years to see if any gifts have been made. The presumption is that all transfers made to family or friends is a gift. Gifts are currently penalized one month for every $6,570 that was given. “Income” of the Medicaid applicant includes social security, pensions, annuity payments, required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) from IRA and 40 I (k) accounts, loan payments and even deductions made for Medicare in the Social Security payment.

In 2019, an applicant is ineligible ifhe or she earns more than $2,313 per month. Sometimes setting up a qualifying trust such as a Qualified Income Trust (“QIT”) or a Miller Trust can be useful. Pooled trusts can also be used to protect some of the applicant’s assets.

A spouse can currently keep all of his or her income, plus possibly some of the institutionalized spouse’s income. The Connnunity Spouse Monthly Income Allowance is currently as follows:

–Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance: $2,057.50
–Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs allowance: $3,160.50

The Community Spouse Asset Allowance is currently:

–Minimum Community Spousal Resource Allowance: $25,284.00
–Maximum Community Spousal Resource Allowance: $126,420

Of course, all income and asset levels are subject to change.

Working with an Ohio Certified Medicaid Planner and Financial Analyst, we can offer unique solutions to maximize and preserve your family wealth. Whether you are a married coule or a single person facing potentially catastrophic nursing home costs, we can devise a plan that may allow substantial assets to remain within family control.

Call 330.896.4500 today for an appointment.

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