Assets are resources such as savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and real estate.
Each state has different eligibility requirements for their Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). All states have limits on the amount of income a person can have to be eligible. Some states have limits on the amount of assets a person can have.
Asset limits for MSPs have needed to be at least as high as the asset limits for Extra Help. Extra Help is the federal program that can help pay some or most of your drug costs if you meet the income and asset requirements. This change was a result of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA).
In 2017, the asset limits for full Extra Help are $8,890 for individuals and $14,090 for couples. These limits include $1,500 per person for burial funds. This means the asset limits for any Medicare Savings Programs in any state cannot be lower than $7,390 for individuals and $11,090 for couples.
The MSP limits appear lower than Extra Help limits because they don’t include burial funds. Unlike Extra Help, states may not automatically disregard $1,500 per person for burial funds. This means, for MSPs, you must usually prove that you have set aside these funds in a designated account or in a pre-paid burial fund. Some states have higher or no MSP asset limits*. You should call your local Medicaid office for more information about MSPs in your state.
It is important to remember that in all states there are certain resources that will never be counted as assets. These include:
- Your primary house
- Your car
- Household goods and wedding/ engagement rings
- Burial spaces
- Burial funds up to $1,500 per person
- Life insurance with a cash value of less than $1,500
Some states may exclude other types of assets as well.
* Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia do not have asset limits for their MSPs (as of January 2016).