Older Americans and people planning for the future in Ohio may have medical planning at the top of their agenda. This is especially the case if they are concerned about the costs and asset depletion rules that can accompany access to Medicaid’s nursing home and long-term care provisions. Long-term care planning can be an important part of a family’s financial plan for the future, protecting assets for senior citizens as well as providing a sustainable life moving forward.

Medicaid has a series of strict rules regarding assets for people who seek coverage for long-term care and other forms of residential treatment, such as memory care. In particular, married couples may seek to understand how Medicaid’s rules affect them and how they can plan for elder care. If a single person needs to access Medicaid’s long-term care coverage, they must have no greater than $2,000 in assets that are considered countable by the program.

In the case of married couples, Medicaid handles assets differently as there is frequently a healthy spouse, called the community spouse, who will continue to need access to the family’s assets. Medicaid excludes some types of assets from consideration under its rules, including the primary residential home of the community spouse, one car and life insurance policies with no cash value until after death. However, the community spouse can only retain $121,000 of all other types of assets.

Long-term care costs can create a financial crisis for many senior citizens. This can lead couples to consider desperate measures and even divorce in an attempt at asset protection. However, transfers of assets are reviewed by Medicaid going back five years. This is especially true in the case of divorces that appear to have taken place solely for the purpose of asset transfer.

Life care planning is a priority for many senior citizens. An elder law attorney can work with individuals and couples to develop a plan to protect assets and structure ownership of family assets while ensuring access to medical care that best protects both partners.

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