It may surprise you to hear that most of the nursing home care that elders receive in the United States is paid for by the Medicaid program.
Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. As a result, a lot of seniors who were never really poor ultimately must apply for Medicaid when they need nursing home care.
The upper resource limit with regard to countable assets is $2000, so many people must “spend down” to qualify.
It should however be noted that your home and your vehicle and some other personal possessions aren’t factored in when your total assets are being tallied by Medicaid evaluators.
There is a caveat here however. While you may retain ownership of your home without its value counting against your overall assets there is an upper equity limit.
The Medicaid program is jointly administered by the states along with the federal government. Therefore, each state has some ability to set its own standards, but there are federally mandated guidelines.
At minimum the equity limit in 2013 is $536,000, but each state has the ability to raise this to as much as $802,000. There is no limit at all if the healthy spouse is going to continue to live in the home.
When it comes to countable assets, the spouse that will remain on his or her own can keep half of the resources that the couple shared, but there is a limit imposed by the states within federal guidelines.
In 2013 the minimum amount of shared countable countable assets that the healthy or community spouse may be allowed to hold on to is $23,184. The maximum amount that can be set by a state is $115,920.