Seniors in New York may be concerned about how their assets will affect their eligibility for Medicaid. While Medicare and associated plans cover most health care costs for seniors, long-term nursing care or related home care plans are not covered under the program. Instead, seniors who need assistance to pay for long-term care must turn to Medicaid. There are strict eligibility requirements that govern Medicaid eligibility, even for seniors that cannot afford long-term care. After all, the costs of long-term nursing care can exceed $150,000 annually.
New York asset limit for Medicaid
Advance Medicaid planning can be one solution for seniors who expect to need long-term care assistance in the future. In order to plan, however, it is important to understand the asset and income requirements in order to become eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid differentiates between “countable assets,” which are measured against the eligibility limit, and “exempt assets,” which are excluded from the calculation. While bank accounts, investments and other assets are counted, in most cases, a person’s primary home, furnishings, wedding ring and similar personal items are considered exempt. While in most states, Medicaid eligibility requires countable assets of $2,000 or below, New York is an exception, with an upper limit of $15,900.
Complications for Medicaid asset requirements
While income requirements are measured separately, all of the assets of a married couple are considered joint property and thus counted toward the limit. While applicants may spend down their assets, transfers made in the five years before the application are counted against the asset limit and may delay Medicaid eligibility.
These limits apply to the most common form of Medicaid for seniors looking for long-term care support, although there may be other limits for different types of Medicaid applications. Because of the look-back period, it can be important to consider advance planning for seniors who think they may need long-term care in the future.