Major Changes to Medicaid

Does Your Asset Count or Not?

Medicaid is a joint Federal-State Program which can pay for the expenses of a nursing home, assisted living facility and home care, if a person qualifies. However, the States may differ on the policies it offers to its residents.  Ohio is about to make a major policy change which can benefit a Medicaid applicant, and the non-applicant spouse, if properly planned for when drawing up an asset protection plan.

medicaid sign with stethoscope
Previously, a retirement account was treated as a countable asset when applying for Medicaid.  This meant requiring an applicant to liquidate, and perhaps spend down, all retirement accounts as an applicant cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets.  If the applicant is married, the spouse may keep more, depending on the value of their combined assets.
Recently, the Ohio Department of Medicaid has made a policy change on how retirement accounts are treated for eligibility purposes.  If a retirement account is in payout status (for example, if a person is receiving required minimum distributions from a retirement account), it is no longer considered a countable asset when determining Medicaid eligibility.  The required minimum distribution, if coming from an applicant’s retirement account, is considered unearned income which may affect other aspects of a Medicaid case.  Liquidating an applicant’s retirement account is still an option and may benefit the plan.
To assist those considering Medicaid, many rules have been updated with the following added:
“This rule is being filed as an emergency rule for the immediate preservation of the public health in order to provide greater flexibility to ensure Medicaid eligible individuals are able to quickly and efficiently obtain and maintain Medicaid services during the COVID-19 state of emergency.”
The respective rule must be reviewed to see if COVID-19 affects the rule.
If you have any questions about Medicaid or about your elder law issues in general please contact Joseph P. Mattera, Esq. at 937-223-1130 or

AUTHOR: Joseph Mattera