Medicaid is an excellent program for individuals or families who need assistance to cover health care expenses, especially for elderly and disabled individuals. The program’s eligibility requirements are strict, but there are exemptions for which applicants may qualify.
Read on to discover which assets are exempt from Medicaid in Florida.
Applying for Medicaid in Florida – Understanding the System
Also referred to as the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program, Medicaid is available for Florida residents who meet the eligibility requirements.
The list of health care benefits and services provided by Medicaid varies depending on the specific program, which results in distinct eligibility requirements.
For example, an elderly individual applying for Institutional (Nursing Home) Medicaid must meet different eligibility requirements from a disabled individual applying for Regular Medicaid or Medicaid for Aged and Disabled (MEDS-AD).
To qualify for any of the options available, the applicant must meet specific requirements on asset and income limits.
What Assets Are Exempt from Medicaid in Florida? – Homestead Property
An applicant’s primary residence protected under Florida homestead laws is not considered a “countable asset” for Medicaid purposes. To determine whether the applicant’s house is a homestead, he or she must meet one of two existing requirements.
The first is the applicant’s home equity interest limit, which is $636,000 or less (as of January 2022). To calculate the home equity, the applicant must find the property’s fair market value less any debts secured by the asset (e.g., mortgage).
The applicant must also have the intent to return home if the purpose of the Medicaid assistance is to cover expenses involved in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
The second option waives the home equity requirement and applies in situations where:
- The applicant’s spouse continues to reside in the homestead
- The applicant’s child (up to 21 years old) is living on the homestead
- The applicant’s child is a person with special needs and continues to reside in the homestead (regardless of age)
In such cases, the applicant’s property is exempt for Medicaid purposes.
What Assets Are Exempt from Medicaid in Florida? – In Detail
Besides the applicant’s homestead, other assets are also considered exempt for Medicaid purposes in Florida, such as:
- Personal possessions (within reasonable limits)
- One vehicle (within reasonable limits)
- An additional vehicle (must be seven years or older and does not apply to luxury, antique, or customized vehicles)
- Specific types of retirement accounts and annuities (e.g., 401(k)s, IRAs, etc.)
- Business property
- Irrevocable burial contracts
- Prepaid funeral arrangements
- Up to $2,500 designated for burial expenses
- Home improvements (within reasonable limits)
- Bank accounts designated for burial with specific language in the title
- One burial plot (per family member)
- Non-homestead property (if certain conditions are met)
- Life insurance policy with zero cash value
- Life insurance policy with a total value of less than $2,500
- Life Insurance policy up to $2,500 in total and combined cash value
- A life estate interest in real estate