Ohio’s Medicaid PASSPORT Waiver

Page Reviewed / Updated - Mar. 2014

What is a Medicaid Waiver?
For persons with limited financial resources, Medicaid pays for nursing home care. For those who wish to live at home or in assisted living, sometimes Medicaid will pay for care in those locations if it can be obtained at a lower cost than in a nursing home. It does this through "Medicaid Waivers" which are also called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS Waivers) or Waiver Funded Services.

Waiver Description

This Ohio Medicaid waiver program allows seniors that require a nursing facility level of care to remain living at home or in the community and receive care in those locations. This program is intended to provide seniors with a higher quality of life by providing them a choice of residential locations in which they can receive care services. It is also intended to save the state of Ohio money by leveraging the caregiving provided by friends, spouses and family members. Therefore, the cost of care provided at home cannot exceed 60% of the cost for that same care were it provided in a nursing home.

The types of care paid for under PASSPORT includes personal care, both at home and in adult day care settings, independent living support such as home delivered meals, laundry, housekeeping etc.  Also covered are medical equipment, disposable supplies and transportation assistance for doctors visits.

 Under PASSPORT, family members can be hired to provide personal care.

The PASSPORT Program now permits consumer direction of services.  This allows the beneficiary to have a degree of control over whom provides them with care services.   Non-skilled care services such as personal care can be provided by friends and certain family members, most relevantly the adult children.  These individuals can be paid the Medicaid-approved hourly rate for their caregiving assistance which can be expected to be in the $10 - $14 / hr range. 

PASSPORT is an acronym for Pre-Admission Screening System Providing Options & Resources Today.  This program is under the administration of the Ohio Department of Aging and is managed locally by the Area Agencies on Aging.

 Did You Know? Ohio residents can receive free quotes for bathroom modifications such as the addition of a walk-in tub to help them remain living safely in their homes. Learn more.


Eligibility Guidelines

In addition to being an Ohio resident and aged 60 or older, this waiver has both disability requirements and financial restrictions. Applicants are assessed to determine if they require the level of care found in nursing homes, this typically means they are in need of significant assistance with the activities of daily living.  Persons with dementia or Alzheimer's do not automatically qualify.

The financial guidelines for the PASSPORT Waiver are the same as Ohio Institutional Medicaid limits. In 2013, an individual's monthly income must be less than $2,163 (300% of the Federal Poverty Level).

The total value of their countable assets cannot exceed $1,500. However, one's home is not included as a countable asset provided the owner lives in the home and the value of their real estate does not exceed $543,000. Another exception to the $1,500 limit, is when the individual is married and their spouse is not seeking Medicaid. In this situation, the spouse can have up to $117,240 in countable assets. This is called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

 Important* It is possible for persons with income or assets in excess of these limits to qualify for the PASSPORT waiver. By getting Medicaid planning help, applicants can re-allocate income into a pooled trust and assets into exempt annuities, burial plans and other non-countable resources.  Learn more about this option.


Benefits and Services

Each applicant is screened to determine their eligibility and for which services they might be eligible. Possible services include the following.  Certain, unskilled services are available for self-direction.

  • Adult Day Care
  • Chore Services
  • Disposable Medical Supplies
  • Durable Medical Equipment
  • Home Delivered Prepared Meals and Nutritional Counseling
  • Homemaker Assistance (such as Laundry or Housekeeping)
  • Personal Care
  • Personal Emergency Response Service
  • Transportation Assistance for Medical Appointments


How to Apply / Learn More

While this program is available statewide across Ohio, there is a cap on the number of available participants.  Approximately 35,000 individuals are provided services.   However even at that capacity, it is possible that persons may still be waitlisted for services.  

Ohio residents should contact their local area agency on aging to apply or call 1-866-243-5678. There is a webpage here that provides additional details about this program.

Ohio residents should also consider the Assisted Living Waiver