Medicaid and Assets

Paying for care is part of every elder care plan, and many Ohio seniors find Medicaid to be a viable option for covering some of the costs of long-term care.

Unlike Medicare and most insurance plans, Medicaid factors your financial state into your eligibility.

As a rule, Medicaid is only available to Ohio seniors with low income and limited assets. What exactly counts as an asset isn’t always clear, however.

Kabb Law, an elder care legal team in Beachwood, OH, has experienced lawyers on staff who can help you understand the relationship between Medicaid and assets, and how they affect your ability to use the program to pay for senior care.

What Are Assets?

Assets are the valuable things you own that can be counted as wealth when you apply for Ohio Medicaid coverage. For something you own to count as an asset, it generally has to have some economic value and a reasonable expectation that you could benefit from it in the future. If you bought land as an investment, for instance, Medicaid is likely to count it as an asset because it earns revenue and could be sold in the future for a profit. Many different kinds of property fall into this category, such as:

  • Real estate
  • Annuities
  • Stocks, bonds and commodities
  • Cash
  • Some personal property, such as jewelry and cars

How Do Assets Figure Into Medicaid?

In the state of Ohio, you’re generally not allowed to sign up for Medicaid until the total value of your assets has dropped below $2,000. That means your medical expenses might not be covered by the program until you’ve sold much of what you own and used the money to cover the cost of care for yourself. Once your personal wealth has dropped below the threshold, you may be able to sign up for Medicaid to pick up some or all of the remaining costs.

Countable and Exempt Assets

The $2,000 requirement isn’t as firm as it sounds. Some of your assets are countable toward the limit, while other assets are exempt. The difference can be subtle, and only a lawyer with experience in public benefits can give you a definitive answer about the items you own.

Exempt Assets

Exempt assets are not counted toward your Medicaid assets maximum, so there’s no penalty for owning them. Your house is exempt for up to $552,000 after you sign up for Medicaid so long as you have an intent to return there. That means if you own a house that’s worth less than the exempt amount,  without having to sell it to pay for care. The house of any value is exempt if your spouse or disabled child lives there. The house can also be exempt if your child has provided care to you for 2 years prior to your nursing home admission. Other typically exempt assets can be:

  • Prepaid funeral funds
  • One Car, especially if it is used for medical transportation
  • Some annuities, depending on how they’re structured

Getting Medicaid to help you cover the cost of your long-term care can be a great relief for many seniors.

The Beachwood, OH, elder law firm of Kabb Law can help you sort your assets out to maximize the amount that’s exempt and get you qualified for Medicaid coverage. Call for a consultation today to find out more about your Medicaid countable and exempt assets.