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Ohio In Midst of Controversy Over Medicaid Annuities

The state of Ohio is facing lawsuits and criticism for denying Medicaid benefits to seniors in long-term care facilities whose spouses purchased annuities. In order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant’s income and resources must not exceed specific limits. Typically, any transfer of assets results in a period of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits lasting five years. However, most states make an exception for annuities meeting certain requirements. Such annuities are a common tool to help older adults with the burden of paying for long-term care. Ohio argues they are being used to circumvent the state’s rules regarding Medicaid eligibility, but Elder Law attorneys and advocates for the elderly claim the state is not following federal law and is hurting the middle class. The outcome of this dispute could shape how Elder Law attorneys in Oklahoma and other states advise their clients on planning for long-term care.