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Although a Medicaid application requires each applicant (and, if married, his or her spouse) to report each and every asset, not all assets are counted when adding up the amount of property the individual has. Hence, the distinction between "countable" and "non-countable" assets is important. If the person's countable assets are less than $2,000, the individual will meet the resource requirements, even if the total of countable and non-countable assets combined is over the limit.
For married applicants, any asset that would be countable if the applicant owned it is also countable if the spouse owns it, and vice versa. Mutual fund investments, for example, are countable, even if they are held solely in the name of the applicant's spouse. Similarly, the applicant's personal residence is non-countable (provided that he or she intends to return someday, regardless of the objective likelihood of that occurring), whether the deed is in the applicant's name, in the spouse's name or in both names.
The fact that property is non-countable does not remove it from possible loss in connection with Medicaid benefits. Non-countable property that is held in the name of a Medicaid recipient will be part of his or her estate upon death. The state Medicaid agency has a right to take back from the individual's estate whatever amount was paid for nursing home benefits (and in some states, for benefits outside of a nursing home as well), through a process called "estate recovery." If a non-countable asset has high value, such as the individual's home, it therefore is important to look beyond the application stage alone in order to fully protect the asset.
Countable and non-countable assets are listed below. To learn more about any of these terms, click on it and a definition or other information will appear.
2. Bank deposits
3. IRAs, Keogh plans, pension funds and annuities
5. Cash surrender value of life insurance policies
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