The Ohio Medicaid rule governing the exemption of a residence for a single person changed as of last August 2016. A single person who enters a nursing home must spend down to less than $2000 in order to be eligible for Medicaid payment of the nursing home costs. Their residence remains an exempt resource as long as they have an “intent to return home.” In our office we have successfully retained this exemption by submitting an Intent to Return Home Affidavit.
Although this may seem very favorable by retaining the residence as an exempt resource, is really not that advantageous. If a person remains on Medicaid and passes away the home will be subject to estate recovery. Thus, the value of the home will be lost to pay back Medicaid. However, this exemption is important for persons who can spend down quickly before the home can be sold. It allows them to obtain Medicaid approval quickly without having the sale of the home delay eligibility. Once the home is sold they will need to spend down again before regaining Medicaid eligibility. As a practical matter, it is best just to sell the home as soon as possible and take advantage of spend down and other planning strategies to save some of the estate from nursing home costs.