Exempt and Countable Assets for Medicaid

To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must pass some fairly strict tests on the amount of assets they can keep. To understand how Medicaid works, we first need to review what are known as “exempt” and “non-exempt assets.

Generally exempt assets for purposes of North Carolina Medicaid in a nursing home, consists of:

Pretty much everything else is countable for Medicaid. In some states, IRAs are noncountable. However, in North Carolina IRAs are considered countable assets.

It is also important to consider that just because an asset is noncountable or exempt, it is not protected. In other words, a person can qualify for Medicaid owning their home, because that is a noncountable asset. However, if the Medicaid  recipient dies in the nursing home, then the State of  North Carolina can seek estate recovery and force the sale of that homeplace. So in other words, while the home was exempt, it was not protected unless further steps are taken.