Medicaid Eligibility Varies by State and by Unique Case

Medicaid is a government program that provides access to medical care for individuals and families who are otherwise financially unable to receive healthcare or medical treatment.  Eligibility for Medicaid is primarily determined by an individual or couple’s financial assets and income.  The maximum monetary limit for each of these is determined by each state, but consistency does exist among most states’ requirements.  

Medicaid financial requirements for participation, with the exception of a handful of states, require an asset limit of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.  This is the norm across the nation.  In addition, most states placed a limit at less than $1,000 for an individual’s income and a limit of less than $1,300 for a couple’s income.  Additionally, Medicaid typically allows an individual or couple to retain ownership of a house and vehicle and does not include these possessions in its consideration of assets.  A financial “look back” of 5 years further exists nationwide, which prevents individuals from quickly transferring their assets to another’s possession in order to qualify for Medicaid.   

Interesting trends in Medicaid income and asset limits reveal that states that maintain higher costs of living reflected these costs in their Medicaid eligibility requirements - Hawaii, Florida, and New York allowed the highest income and asset limits.  For example, Hawaii has the highest income limit, allowing nearly $2000 for a couple and nearly $1500 for an individual.  New York exceeded the asset limit of every other state by far, allowing an individual to retain nearly $15,000, while a couple is allowed more than $20,000 in assets.

While most states make their asset and income limits public, some states require an individual to file an application for Medicaid or to speak with a state worker about their situation in order to determine if they are eligible.  However, nearly all states with publicly displayed financial qualifications for Medicaid include a disclaimer that individuals may still be eligible even if they do not meet the listed qualifications.

Qualifying for Medicaid seems to be a highly personalized process.  While guidelines and limits are presented by many states, the lack of Federal regulation for Medicaid allows for customized cases and flexible financial limits.  Find more information on Medicaid qualifications in your state and search for a Medicaid nursing home in our directory of 18,000 nursing homes nationwide. 

Angela Manhart, Caregiverlist Blogger

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