If you’re a single, unmarried person, you may be wondering how the Medicaid qualification process works for you. We’re taking a look at what Medicaid coverage entails and how income and assets are calculated in the application process.

Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid is a free health insurance program that is provided through the federal and state government. There are several levels of Medicaid coverage available, including doctor’s visits, prescription medications, non-emergency transportation, hospitalization, and long-term care (which includes nursing home care).

Qualifying for Medicaid

Whether you, as a single person, qualify for Medicaid depends on two main factors: your income and assets. Currently, the individual income cap for Medicaid waivers and nursing home Medicaid is $2,382 per month. That equates to about $28,854 per year.

Calculating Income

For individual (single) Medicaid applicants, calculating income is very straightforward. The government will add up all the income the individual receives and compare it to the income limit. If their total income is below the Medicaid limit, the person is eligible. If their income is above the limit, they may not be eligible.

All of the following items are counted towards the Medicaid income limit:

  • Alimony
  • Dividends From Stocks and Bonds
  • Employment Wages
  • Estate Income
  • Interest Payments
  • IRA Distributions
  • Pension Payments
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Veteran’s Benefits

Medicaid applicants will typically have to provide proof (documentation) of their income. They may have to submit copies of checks, pay stubs, or award letters.

If an applicant’s income exceeds the monthly Medicaid cap, they may still be eligible by using a Qualified Income Trust, also known as a Miller Trust. With a Qualified Income Trust, a Medicaid applicant deposits their income into the trust. The funds are then controlled by a trustee and no longer count towards the Medicaid income eligibility. The applicant can only use the funds in the Qualified Income Trust for very specific purposes, like paying for health insurance, spousal allowance, or personal care costs.

Calculating Assets

For individual Medicaid applicants, the current (2021) asset limit is $2,000. Assets that count toward this limit include:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Investment Accounts
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Real Estate (Other Than Your Primary Residence)

Assets that do not count towards the Medicaid asset limits include:

  • House
  • Personal Items (ex: clothing, jewelry, dishes, furniture)
  • Prepaid Funeral Costs
  • Retirement Funds (ex: 401(k), IRA)
  • Vehicle

Some Medicaid applicants are anxious about giving up their personal assets; however, by working with an experienced Medicaid planner, the applicant may be able to protect assets above and beyond what Medicaid allows.

Have Questions? Contact Our Medicaid Planning Team

Applying for Medicaid isn’t always a straightforward process, especially for single people who are seeking long-term care benefits. It’s better to get the process started sooner rather than later. The earlier you start planning, the more and better options you will have. If you have additional questions about Medicaid, or would like to schedule a consultation, please reach out to Brian M. Douglas & Associates at (770) 933-9009 or via our online contact form. One of our experienced attorneys would be happy to help.