Basics of Medicaid Eligibility

The basics of Medicaid are what you can and can not keep. In order to understand qualification for Medicaid benefits, we first need to know how Medicaid treats your assets. Basically, Medicaid breaks your assets down into two separate categories. The first are those assets which are exempt, an the second are those assets which are not exempt, or accountable. Exempt assets are those which Medicaid will not take into account, at least for the time being. Generally, the following assets are exempt:

The home, no matter it’s value.

The home must be the principal place of residence. The nursing home residence is going to be required to show an intent to return home, or the at home spouse must to reside there. House hold and personal belongings, such as furniture, appliances, jewelry, and clothing, one vehicle. There may be some limitation on value. Burial plots and caskets for the nursing home resident and spouse. Funeral services for the nursing home resident and spouse provided the initial deposit, did not exceed $1,500 per spouse. Cash value of life insurance policies, as long as the face value of all policies added together does not exceed $1,500. If the total face amount does exceed $1,500 when added together, then the cash value in these policies is accountable. Term life insurance also is exempt. Cash, e.g.; a small checking account or savings account, which does not exceed $2,000.

What Will Medicaid Ignore?

Based on current law, these are primary assets which Medicaid will ignore. Keep in mind, however, that the department of human services, may come back to recoup payments made to a Medicaid recipient, after the death of the recipient and has married the recipient’s spouse. All other assets, which are not exempt, i.e. those not listed earlier are accountable. These include checking accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposits, money market account, stocks, bonds, IRA (including Roth IRA’s), pensions, 401(k)s, 403b’s, second cars, and so on. Basically all money and property as well as any item that can be valued and turned into cash is accountable asset. Unless it is one of those listed earlier as exempt.

Medicaid Rules Can be Tricky

Andy Schneider
Creative Commons License photo credit: Center for American Progress

While the Medicaid rules themselves are complicated, tricky, illogical and downright unfair, it’s safe to say that if you are a single person you will qualify for Medicaid so long as you have only limited assets. For a married couple, the community spouse, i.e., the one not needing nursing home care, can generally keep $104,400; office, this does not mean there is nothing that can be done to protect assets beyond those levels. Instead, the issue of elder law answers to your questions is designed to review the basics the way a case worker from Department of Human Services would do.

Want more information?  Be sure to visit the Medicaid website to see what other information you might need to know.



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