Medicaid may pay for your nursing home care, assisted living care, or in-home care, but your assets will play an essential role in your Medicaid eligibility. You must disclose all your assets when you apply for Medicaid, and the total value of your assets can’t be more than Medicaid’s asset limits.
What are assets?
Assets (called resources in Medicaid) include cash, savings, investments and property. Assets are different from income (money that you receive). Assets are things you own.
What are Medicaid’s long-term care asset limits?
Long-term care Medicaid mainly concerns coverage in nursing homes, home-based services and community-based services. A nursing home Medicaid applicant’s asset limit is $2,000. If the applicant is married, the applicant’s spouse’s asset limit is $137,400. However, if both spouses need nursing home Medicaid, their total asset limit is $3,000.
Do all assets count toward Medicaid’s long-term care asset limit?
Not all assets count because some assets are exempt from Medicaid’s asset limits. The exempt assets could include your car (one car per household), personal possessions like furniture, income-producing property (including farmland or rental properties) and certain types of trusts (not ordinary “revocable” or “living” trusts). Your house may be exempt if its equity (home value minus the amount due on a mortgage loan) is less than Medicaid’s $636,000 limit.
What assets count toward Medicaid’s long-term care asset limits?
Your cash, investments, savings, and checking accounts will likely count toward your Medicaid asset limit. Also, if you own property that is not your home—like a vacation home—it may count as a long-term care Medicaid asset.
What if your assets are above Medicaid’s long-term care asset limits?
You may still be able to qualify for Medicaid if your assets are over Medicaid’s asset limits. An experienced elder law attorney may help you reinvest your excess assets to make them exempt from inclusion as Medicaid resources. Although an asset protection gift strategy works in some cases, a poorly planned gift can create a financial nightmare under Medicaid’s transfer penalty system. So, you should never make gifts to protect assets without consulting with an elder law attorney whose expertise includes long-term care asset protection planning.
About the Authors
Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins have practiced in the areas of trusts, estates, and elder law for over 26 years. Both lawyers are Trust Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation; a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association. Find more information about these and other topics at www.HawkinsLaw.com. © Copyright 2018 Hawkins Law PC. All rights reserved.