The right of the state of Ohio to get paid back for Medicaid benefits from a person’s care in a nursing home is called the right of recovery. We oftentimes call it the right of recoupment.
When a person gets on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home, the state and federal governments who fund that program expect that person to deplete all of his or her resources before they will step in and pay for the care. However, when a person gets on Medicaid, it does not necessarily mean that he or she won’t have any money in the future. In fact, many people who have benefited from Medicaid do indeed die with money.
If that person dies owning assets, the state of Ohio has the right to get paid back for the benefits it paid for that person to be on Medicaid and in the nursing home. Also, if there’s a married couple and the first spouse passes on in the nursing home leaving the second spouse with his or her money, the state of Ohio has the right to get paid back from that money as well.
However, with careful and legal planning, you could reduce or actually do away with the ability of the state of Ohio to get paid back. We do this through the use of an irrevocable trust. The heart and soul of all Medicaid planning is making a person poor on purpose, which is a risky thing to do. We have to have that elderly person’s full knowledge and consent to do that, and we will only go forward if there is a trustworthy family member who appears to be completely dedicated and loyal to the parent. Our focus and concern is to make sure the elderly parent entering the facility gets all the care he or she needs for the rest of his or her life. We can do that if we have a loyal and dedicated son or daughter we can work with. Preserving that wealth and preserving it from Medicaid recovery costs is legal, it is possible, and we do it all the time here in our office.
We know some people may feel a bit uncomfortable about this and it is a personal choice that is completely up to each person to make. We do, however, want you to know that it is perfectly legal and you are entitled to do it. Think of this: You have the right to plan so you pay the least amount of income taxes. In the same sense, you have the right to plan so you get on Medicaid and diminish the ability of the state of Ohio to obtain recovery.
If you would like to discuss this further, call our office; we would be happy to answer any questions you have. We have spoken on this topic many times and are here to help you determine what is best for your family’s particular needs.