As our parents age, we have to begin to think about how best to take care of them. We start with the basics, such as ensuring they already have an estate plan in place that is current with their wishes. We don't expect to have to worry too much about their health until after they retire. But what if their health starts to decline before retirement, before they qualify to receive Medicare?
As we start to recognize the signs of early onset Alzheimer's, we begin to look at options like a living will that specifies a long-term health care plan and names a preferred guardian to take control. We also begin to explore options for paying for that care.
You father is too young to qualify for Medicare, but he may qualify for Medicaid. Since you have made the appropriate steps to gain guardianship, it is in your hands see to your father's health care needs. Read below for basic information on a Qualified Income Trust and how it may help your father be eligible for Medicaid.
Qualified income trust defined
A Qualified Income Trust (QIT), also called a "Miller Trust," allows people receiving long-term care services to maintain coverage through Medicaid. In order to receive Medicaid, an individual's income must be below a certain threshold. The trust is a legal arrangement that allows excess income to be ignored so that your father can remain eligible for Medicaid.
In 2016, the income limit to qualify for Medicaid was $2,199 per month. Amounts over that limit can be deposited into a QIT in order to stay eligible for services.
In order to be considered valid in Ohio, a QIT can only include your father's income. It cannot include any income from your mother or other family members, nor can it be used for a purpose other than to maintain Medicaid services.
The trust must be irrevocable and it can't be changed or canceled in the future. The state of Ohio will be listed as the only beneficiary. In short, the trust allows the state to be reimbursed up to the total amount of Medicaid payments that were made for your father.
The money in the QIT can be used to pay for incurred medical expenses, monthly personal expenses, any costs associated with maintaining the trust, and any patient liabilities.
For help in establishing a QIT for your parent, contact a local Cleveland attorney experienced in estate planning.