The rising costs of nursing home care may impact farm families harder than others due to farm assets that may limit or prevent a family member from qualifying for Medicaid, according to an agricultural law expert at The Ohio State University.

In the past, farmers worried about minimizing federal and state estate taxes, but now the larger concern is planning for long-term care needs while ensuring that the family farm assets can be transferred to the next generation, said Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension’s agricultural and resource law field specialist.

OSU Extension is the college’s outreach arm.

“Long-term health care costs seem to be growing, and without preplanning, Medicaid often isn’t a good fallback for many farmers due to the wealth tied to land ownership,” said Hall, who is also an assistant professor for OSU Extension.  

“And federal laws that allow the government to recover Medicaid expenditures from an estate can force the sale of family farmland and other assets that remain in the decedent’s name or were transferred within five years of qualifying for Medicaid.”

To help address these needs, Hall is hosting a free webinar to provide information on how families may be able to plan for long-term health care costs. The webinar, “Nursing Home Costs and Medicaid: The One-Two Punch to the Family Farm,” is at 1 p.m. on April 10. The webinar will feature a presentation by Craig Vandervoort of the law firm Sitterly and Vandervoort Ltd. in Lancaster.

“Farm families have to plan well in advance to determine how they can fund nursing home costs,” Hall said. “There are ways to utilize Medicaid, but it takes good preplanning to avoid recovery of costs from farm assets that are needed for the next generation.”

Instructions for signing into the live webinar are on OSU Extension’s Agricultural Law and Taxation website at aglaw.osu.edu/webinars. The webinar will also be archived on the site after the presentation.