What Assets Are Countable and Non-Countable For Medicaid Eligibility In North Carolina?

When it comes to Medicaid eligibility in North Carolina, understanding the difference between countable and non-countable assets is crucial. At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we’re dedicated to helping you go through this important aspect of estate planning and elder law. Let’s dive into what assets are considered countable and non-countable for Medicaid eligibility in North Carolina, helping you make informed decisions for your future or that of a loved one.

Countable Assets for Medicaid Eligibility in North Carolina:

In the realm of Medicaid eligibility, countable assets play a significant role. These are the assets that Medicaid considers when determining a person’s eligibility for benefits. In North Carolina, countable assets typically include:

  • Bank Accounts: Checking and savings accounts fall under countable assets for Medicaid. This includes the total balance in these accounts. It’s important to regularly monitor these balances as they can affect your eligibility, especially if they exceed Medicaid’s asset limits. Keeping track of deposits and withdrawals is crucial in maintaining eligibility.
  • Investments: When it comes to investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment accounts, these are typically counted towards Medicaid asset limits. The value of these investments is assessed based on their current market value. Strategic management and reallocation of these assets can play a pivotal role in Medicaid planning.
  • Real Estate: All real estate holdings, apart from the primary residence, are considered countable assets. This includes vacation homes, rental properties, and any other real estate investments. The equity value of these properties is taken into account, which can significantly impact Medicaid eligibility. Understanding how to manage these assets is critical in Medicaid planning.
  • Additional Vehicles: While Medicaid exempts one vehicle per household, any additional cars are considered countable assets. The value of these additional vehicles, whether they are used for transportation or not, is included in the asset calculation. This can include cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and farming vehicles that are in your name.

It’s important to understand that if these assets exceed Medicaid’s asset limit, they can affect your eligibility. The asset limit is different for single and married coupels, so it’s essential to stay informed about the current thresholds. Additionally, strategic planning can help you manage these assets in a way that might better align with Medicaid eligibility requirements.

Non-Countable Assets in North Carolina’s Medicaid Program:

Non-countable assets are those that Medicaid does not take into account when determining eligibility. These often include:

  • Primary Residence: The primary residence is exempt from Medicaid’s countable assets if you have the intent to return home, or on the condition that you, your spouse, or a dependent relative resides in the home. This exemption applies irrespective of the home’s value. However, if the homeowner moves into a long-term care facility, the rules regarding this exemption can become more complex.
  • One Vehicle: Medicaid generally exempts one vehicle per applicant, no matter its value. This vehicle is considered a necessity for transportation, whether used for medical appointments, grocery shopping, or other essential activities. This exemption applies even to high-value cars.
  • Personal Belongings: Personal items like clothing, furniture, household goods, and other personal effects are not counted as assets by Medicaid. These items are considered essential for daily living and do not impact Medicaid eligibility, offering some relief in asset consideration.
  • Specific Life Insurance Policies: Life insurance policies with a small face value, typically not exceeding a particular amount, are often exempt from Medicaid’s asset count. This is because these policies are considered to have minimal cash value. It’s essential to review the terms of your policy to ensure it meets the exemption criteria.  Term life insurance is also exempt, no matter the value.  
  • Burial Plots and Related Arrangements: Medicaid typically does not count pre-paid irrevocable burial plots and funeral plans, and certain designated burial funds as assets up to a designated amount. This exemption is based on the understanding that these arrangements are part of essential end-of-life planning and should not impact long-term care funding.

Understanding what assets are exempt can provide crucial insights into Medicaid planning. It’s important to note, however, that the rules surrounding these exemptions can be complex, and what may be non-countable in one scenario might not be in another.

Strategies for Medicaid Planning in North Carolina:

Effective Medicaid planning often involves restructuring your assets to meet eligibility criteria while preserving wealth. Some common strategies include:

  • Asset Spending: Utilizing assets for non-countable purposes, like home improvements.
  • Asset Conversion: Converting countable assets into non-countable ones, like using excess cash to repair a primary residence.
  • Establishing Trusts: Certain types of trusts can protect your assets while maintaining Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid eligibility and understanding the intricacies of countable and non-countable assets can be challenging. At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we’re committed to providing clear, compassionate guidance in this process. Whether you’re planning for yourself or a loved one, understanding these distinctions is essential for effective long-term care planning in North Carolina.

If you need assistance with Medicaid planning or understanding how your assets affect your eligibility, we’re here to help. Call us at (919) 782-3500 or contact us online today to speak with a compassionate Raleigh and Wake Forest elder law attorney. Let us guide you through the complexities of Medicaid planning, ensuring your assets are protected while securing the care you need.