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Medicaid in Ohio: What Seniors Need to Know About Exempt and Countable Assets

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Are you or a loved one, an Ohio senior, concerned about Medicaid and needing long-term care one day? When it comes to long-term care, an essential part of Medicaid planning is understanding the difference between exempt and countable assets to make informed decisions to legally protect your hard-earned assets from the government.

In this blog, we’ll share what you need to know about exempt and countable assets regarding Medicaid in Ohio, its impact on eligibility, and how you can plan for Medicaid to keep what you’ve worked so hard for. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge to protect your financial well-being, access benefits, and ensure a secure future for you and your loved ones.

It’s never too early to get started on Medicaid planning. Contact Jarvis Law Office at (740) 653-3450 to schedule your FREE consultation with our experienced Ohio Medicaid planning attorney team. We’re here to answer your questions. We protect Ohio seniors and those who love them.

Ohio’s Medicaid Program

Ohio’s Medicaid program is a state and federal partnership that provides health coverage for low-income individuals and families, including seniors, disabled individuals, and pregnant women. With the rising costs of long-term care, Medicaid is becoming an increasingly vital resource for Ohio seniors who may require assistance in the future.

As discussed in our blog on Medicaid myths, one key feature that sets Ohio’s Medicaid apart from many other states is the inclusion of home and community-based service waivers for eligible seniors.

As an Ohio senior, it’s essential for you to understand how your exempt and countable assets impact your eligibility for Medicaid long-term care, so you can benefit from this important feature while still safeguarding your hard-earned assets.

We know that navigating the world of long-term care can be complicated, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. To learn more about planning for long-term care, check out our helpful blog post on this topic.

Need help navigating the maze?

Asset Limits for Eligibility

In Ohio, seniors 65 or older may qualify for long-term care Medicaid if they meet the state’s eligibility requirements. These requirements include being a resident of Ohio, a United States citizen, or a legal resident.

One crucial eligibility component is the applicant’s total countable assets, which must fall below specific thresholds to qualify for the program.

For Ohio seniors, as of 2023, the asset limit is $2,000 for a single applicant and $3,000 for a married couple (when both spouses apply). Consult Ohio Medicaid for the most accurate and up-to-date information on asset limits.

Exempt and Countable Assets

Not all assets count towards Medicaid eligibility in Ohio. Some assets are exempt, meaning they do not count toward the asset limit, while others are countable, meaning they are included in the calculation.

Exempt Assets

  • Primary residence (with an equity value of up to $688,000)
  • One automobile
  • Household goods and personal effects
  • Prepaid funeral arrangements (with certain restrictions)
  • Life insurance policies with a combined face value of $1,500 or less
  • Term life insurance with no cash value

Countable Assets 

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs, 401(k)s)
  • Additional real estate (aside from the primary residence)
  • Additional vehicles

Community Spouse Resource Allowance

Ohio’s Community Spouse Resource Allowance is a provision designed to protect the financial well-being of the spouse not receiving Medicaid benefits, known as the “community spouse.” This provision allows the community spouse to retain a certain amount of countable assets without affecting the Medicaid eligibility of their institutionalized spouse.

In Ohio, as of 2023, the community spouse can retain 50% of the couple’s assets, up to a maximum of $148,620.

The Look-Back Period

Ohio’s look-back period is a crucial aspect of Medicaid eligibility regarding assets. This term refers to the period when Ohio Medicaid examines an applicant’s financial transactions to identify asset transfers potentially made for qualification.

The look-back period begins on the date the applicant applies for Medicaid and extends back 60 months (5 years).

If Ohio Medicaid discovers that an applicant has transferred assets for less than fair market value during the look-back period, a penalty period may be imposed, during which the applicant will be ineligible for Medicaid benefits.

Start planning for the look-back period today.

Medicaid Planning Strategies

Navigating the complexities of Medicaid eligibility in Ohio can be challenging, but several Medicaid planning strategies can help you qualify for the assistance you need and help protect your assets. Some common Medicaid planning strategies include:


A spend-down strategy involves using excess countable assets to pay for necessary expenses, such as medical bills, home modifications, or other care-related expenses. This strategy helps reduce countable assets to meet Ohio’s Medicaid eligibility requirements.

Converting Countable Assets to Exempt Assets 

Another strategy is converting countable assets into exempt assets. For example, you might use excess cash to make home improvements, purchase a vehicle, or buy a burial plan.

By converting countable assets into exempt assets, you can potentially qualify for Medicaid in Ohio without having to spend down your savings. Consult with your Medicaid planning attorney to help determine if this is a good strategy for your situation.

Irrevocable Trusts

Establishing an irrevocable trust can be an effective way to protect assets while still qualifying for Medicaid in Ohio. Assets placed in an irrevocable trust are no longer considered countable assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes, provided the transfer was made outside of the look-back period.

Since establishing an irrevocable trust involves significant legal complexities, we recommend consulting with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney before proceeding.

Long-Term Care Insurance 

Purchasing long-term care insurance can help cover long-term care costs without relying on Ohio’s Medicaid program. This strategy can benefit those with significant assets who may not qualify for Medicaid due to their financial resources.

Estate Recovery and Its Impact on Exempt Assets

It’s important to note that while exempt assets may not affect Medicaid eligibility, they may still be subject to estate recovery after the Medicaid recipient’s death. Estate recovery is the process through which the state attempts to recover Medicaid expenses from the deceased recipient’s estate.

This process may include the sale of assets, such as the primary residence under certain circumstances, to repay the state for Medicaid benefits received. As part of your Medicaid planning, it is crucial to consult with your attorney to learn how you can protect your assets from Medicaid estate recovery.

Working with an Ohio Medicaid Planning Attorney

Understanding the asset limits for Medicaid eligibility in Ohio and effectively managing your financial resources can help ensure access to the long-term care assistance you or your loved ones may need.

By familiarizing yourself with Ohio’s eligibility criteria, such as exempt and countable assets, the Community Spouse Resource Allowance, and the look-back period, you can make informed decisions about Medicaid planning strategies and safeguard your financial well-being.

However, navigating Medicaid eligibility and exempt status can be complex, and it’s beneficial to work with experienced professionals. An Ohio Medicaid planning attorney can help you understand your options and develop a personalized plan to protect your assets and access essential healthcare services when you or your loved ones need them most.

Don’t Navigate Medicaid Planning Alone: Contact Jarvis Law Office Today

Medicaid planning can be a complex and challenging process. With Ohio’s specific rules and regulations, it’s essential to have an experienced legal partner by your side. If you’re searching online for a “Medicaid attorney near me,” reach out to Jarvis Law Office instead. Our knowledgeable and compassionate Medicaid Planning attorneys are here to help you and your family make well-informed decisions about your long-term care needs and protect your assets.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Our dedicated team of Medicaid Planning attorneys will guide you through the process to help secure your future and ensure the best possible outcome for your Medicaid planning journey.

At Jarvis Law Office, we protect Ohio seniors and those who love them. We understand the importance of aging with dignity and on your terms. We offer FREE consultations, in-person workshops, and monthly webinars for Ohio seniors and their families.

With locations in Lancaster, Dublin, and St. Clairsville, contact us at (740) 653-3450 or complete our online form to schedule your FREE consultation.

Copyright © 2022. Jarvis Law Office, P.C. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Jarvis Law Office, P.C.
904 N. Columbus Street
Lancaster, OH 43130
(740) 653-3450