MEDICAIDby James Hughes on 10/16/11
MEDICAID-EXEMPT ASSETS Today we look at what Medicaid calls exempt assets. What assets are exempt for a couple in the event that there is a healthy spouse who lives in the community and only one of them needs MEDICAID benefits? First, and most importantly: your home. You may keep a home but the amount of equity may be limited to $500,000 under the new rules. Initially the home will be free of any Medicaid lien, just as long as it is occupied by the community spouse and/or a minor or disabled child or in some cases even a sibling with an equity interest may qualify too. In addition to the house, you can keep one décor. Let's take a look at a list of some more assets in this category. Exempt Assets: Medicaid strictly limits the assets you can own. Each state has its own limit on this amount and its own guidelines for which assets count toward the total. In general, however, the following assets do not count against you for Medicaid eligibility, and are known as "exempt assets." Your home: Your principal place of residence. In some cases, the current nursing home resident, who does NOT have a spouse living in the community home, may be required to show some "intent to return home," even if that never happens. (Be aware, though, that second homes, such as vacation homes or condos, are not exempt assets.) Household and personal belongings: Furniture, appliances, jewelry, and clothing. One car: The state may limit the car's value. Burial plot/prepaid funeral plan: The state may limit the value of the plot or plan. Cash value of permanent life insurance policies up to $1,500: In most states, this asset is exempt only if the face value of all policies added together does not exceed $1,500. (If the total exceeds $1,500 in face amount, the cash value counts and may need to be spent down on long term care.) Cash: A small checking or savings account not to exceed the limit imposed by the state. Most of the time a single Medicaid applicant may keep only about $1,500 to $2,000. A married couple who both need nursing home care may generally keep a slightly more generous amount. And a married couple in which only one person needs Medicaid assistance can usually keep a larger Community Spouse Resource Allowance.