It doesn’t take much in the way of assets or income for a person to be ineligible for Medicaid assistance. Strict income caps can put people in a difficult position. Do you “spend down” or burn through the bulk of your assets to get the medical assistance you need? Do you pay for care out-of-pocket until you’re nearly destitute? Fortunately, other options can help people receive the medical care they deserve.
In Ohio, a simple way to qualify for Medicaid benefits is to establish a qualified income trust. Sometimes referred to as a “Miller trust,” this estate planning tool enables you to divert your income to help pay for your medical care.
What types of services does the trust pay for?
Money that you set aside in a qualified income trust may be used to pay for a variety of services, including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Monthly allowances
- Maintenance needs
Payment for these services is in addition to the assistance you receive through Medicaid.
The requirements of this type of trust may not be for everyone
A qualified income trust is not very flexible. It can only include income from the Medicaid recipient. A spouse or a relative may not add additional income or assets to the trust. In addition, a qualified income trust is irrevocable. In other words, once the trust has been established, you are prohibited from making any changes to the trust.
A qualified income trust may not leave you with much of anything to pass onto your heirs. The state can collect any assets left over in the trust up to the total amount of Medicaid expenditures.
A qualified income trust is not the only option for people who are seeking Medicaid eligibility. A skilled estate planning professional can help determine the path that is best suited to your needs and the needs of your family.