How Does Medicaid Define Assets Within the Qualification Process?

The first procedure in the Medicaid qualification process is to divide assets into two categories: (1) exempt and (2) non-exempt or countable. Exempt assets do not count against you in the sense that owning these exempt assets does not affect your qualifying or not qualifying for Medicaid. Medicaid considers non-exempt or countable assets in determining whether you qualify.

Exempt assets are:

The most common exempt assets are:

  • Your residence
  • One motor vehicle of reasonable value (although what is a reasonable value can vary from state to state)
  • Pre-paid or irrevocable funeral and burial plans (another area where requirements vary from state to state)
  • The combined cash value of life insurance policies with total face value of $10,000 or less
  • Normal household goods including personal jewelry
  • Certain other assets such as Medicaid-compliant annuities.

Countable assets are:    

All other assets are countable with the caveat that some states exempt assets, such as an IRA, that generates income. The income is counted as part of evaluating the income limitations, but the asset is not. Similarly, some states exempt income producing real estate property such as rental houses or farmland. Check with your local elder law attorney for your state’s rules.

Additional Information on North Carolina Medicaid Assistance for Nursing Home Care:

Download a free copy of Jackie Bedard’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Paying for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina, to learn the nursing home and Medicaid secrets you need to know to avoid going broke in a nursing home and leaving your family penniless.

Jackie Bedard
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