Ohio’s Medicaid PASSPORT Waiver

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. Seniors benefit with a higher quality of life by providing them a choice of residential locations in which they can receive care services. The state of Ohio saves money by leveraging the care giving provided by friends, spouses and family members. Unfortunately, the state caps the amount of money spent on a senior in the program each month. The cost of care provided at home cannot exceed 60% of the cost for that same care, if it were provided in a nursing home. 

The types of care paid for under PASSPORT include 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 and medical appointments.

 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 of the elder. However, Medicaid only pays a standard rate between $10 - $14 per hour for their caregiving. 

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 need significant assistance with the activities of daily living.  Persons with dementia or Alzheimer's do not automatically qualify, although their care needs are assessed under special procedures.

The financial guidelines for the PASSPORT Waiver are the same as Ohio Institutional Medicaid limits. An individual's gross monthly income must be less than $2,205 in 2017. When the applicant is married and their wife or husband does not need care, then only income in the name of the applicant is counted towards the income limit.

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 $560,000. Another exception to the $1,500 limit is when the individual is married and their spouse is not seeking benefits under Medicaid. In this situation, the spouse can have up to $120,900 in countable assets. This is called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

It is possible for persons with income or assets more than 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

Persons ineligible for PASSPORT might be able to receive services under Ohio's Older American Act

Benefits and Services

Each applicant is screened to determine their eligibility and for which services they might be eligible.  The case manager and the participant work out the details of the care plan together. 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
  • Home Modifications
  • Homemaker Assistance (such as Laundry or Housekeeping)
  • Personal Care
  • Personal Emergency Response Service
  • Shared Living (pending)
  • 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 simultaneously.  However, even at that capacity, the state may run out of slots for qualified persons. Applicants placed on a waiting list will have to wait for a space to open when someone leaves the program. 

Ohio residents should contact their local area agency on aging to apply or call 1-866-243-5678. The program webpage provides additional details about this waiver.

Ohio residents may also want to consider the Ohio Medicaid supported Assisted Living Waiver