The Medicaid program is one resource available to help cover the high costs of nursing home care. It is a federally-established program designed to help people of limited means gain access to the health care they need. Although the program is established by the federal government, it is administered by the states, and each state has slightly different rules for qualifying for Medicaid.
“Countable” vs. “Non-Countable”
In order to qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must meet certain income and asset tests. If your net worth is too high, you’ll be excluded from the program. However, not all of your property is counted for purposes of determining whether you meet the asset requirements.
When you apply for Medicaid, your assets are divided into two categories; “countable” and “non-countable.” The following are examples of assets that are considered “non-countable” and are therefore not included in your net worth for Medicaid eligibility purposes.
Examples of Non-Countable Assets
- Your primary residence (up to $500,000 in equity)
- Term life insurance or burial insurance, as long as it has no cash value
- A whole life insurance policy owned by you, as long as it has a face value of $1,500 or less
- Your car
- $2,000 worth of your household goods and personal items
- Livestock held for consumption or for business purposes
- A burial plot held for you or your family members
Medicaid eligibility rules are convoluted, and it can be tricky to determine whether or not you fall within the requirements. It’s best to consult with an experienced elder law attorney who can help you determine whether you qualify. If you don’t meet the requirements, an elder law attorney can guide you in taking the necessary steps to qualify for coverage.