What Assets Can I Keep and Still Qualify for Medicaid?
To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must pass some fairly strict tests on the amount of assets they can keep. To understand how Medicaid works, we first need to review what are known as exempt and non-exempt (or countable) assets. Exempt assets are those which Medicaid will not take into account (at least for the time being). In general, the following are the primary exempt assets:
• Home (equity up to $552,000). The home must be the principal place of residence. The nursing home resident may be required to show some “intent to return home” even if this never actually takes place.
• Personal belongings and household goods.
• One car or truck.
• Income-producing real estate (exempt in Kansas, sometimes in Missouri).
• Burial spaces and certain related items for applicant and spouse.
• Up to $1,500 designated as a burial fund for applicant and spouse.
• Irrevocable prepaid funeral contract.
• Up to $1,500 in life insurance.
All other assets are generally non-exempt, and are countable. Basically, all money and property, and any item that can be valued and turned into cash, is a countable asset unless it is one of those assets listed above as exempt. This includes:
• Cash, savings, and checking accounts, credit union share and draft accounts.
• Certificates of deposit.
• U.S. Savings Bonds.
• Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), Keogh plans (401K, 403B). (Exempt for the community spouse in Kansas, not in Missouri.)
• Nursing home accounts.
• Prepaid funeral contracts which can be canceled.
• Trusts (depending on the terms of the trust).
• Real estate (other than the residence or income-producing property in KS).
• More than one car.
• Boats or recreational vehicles.
• Stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.
• Land contracts or mortgages held on real estate sold.
While the Medicaid rules themselves are complicated and tricky, it’s safe to say that a single person will qualify for Medicaid as long as he or she has only exempt assets plus a small amount of cash and/or money in the bank, up to $999 in Missouri and up to $2,000 in Kansas.