Elder Law Update – Client Edition April 2009
Do You Have a Loved One Who Is Having Memory Loss or Mobility Problems? Understand The Basics of Medicaid and Long Term Care Coverage or…”What You Can and Cannot Keep” In order to understand Medicaid qualifications for Long Term Care, you first need to know how Medicaid treats your assets. Basically, Medicaid breaks your assets down into two separate categories. The first are those assets which are exempt and the second are those assets which are non-exempt or countable. Exempt assets are those which Medicaid will not take into account (at least for the time being). While the laws in Illinois differ in some respect, generally the following assets are exempt:
- The Home, (so long as the equity is not greater than $500,000.) 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.
- Household and personal belonging, such as furniture, appliances, jewelry and clothing.
- One vehicle, there may be some limitation on value
- Prepaid funeral plans and burial plots.
- Cash value of life insurance policies, as long as the face value of all policies added together does not exceed $1,500. If it does exceed $1,500 in total face amount, then the cash value in these policies is countable. Also, term life insurance is exempt.
- Cash (e.g. a small checking or savings account) not to exceed $2,000 in Illinois.