It is difficult to find a definitive list of what assets are counted to determine eligibility for Medicare. The reason for that is that the guidelines vary from one state to another. This makes it difficult for people who are considering applying for Medicare to know whether they will be able to qualify.
Although each state has its own guidelines to determine eligibility for Medicare, there are some assets that are treated similarly across the board. The most common is the home and household belongings. When applying for Medicare, the value of the person’s home and the piece of land it sits on are usually not counted as assets. The person’s clothing and household furnishings are also not normally counted.
As for assets that usually are counted, any cash, bank accounts or assets that are easily liquidated, such as stocks and bonds, are normally counted toward the asset limit. The limit for assets is currently $2000 for an individual or $3000 for a couple, so many people whose income is very low are still unable to qualify for Medicaid due to excess assets.
There is a great deal of variation in how different states count assets such as farm equipment, cars and whole life policies. Some states count these items as assets to determine eligibility for Medicaid, while others do not. Some states will count investments that have been turned into annuities as income rather than assets, since the money is being paid out on a regular basis, just like any other type of income.
It is unfortunate that, with the current asset limits, many seniors must use up almost all of their retirement savings to pay for medical expenses before becoming eligible for assistance from Medicare. This leaves them with almost nothing to live on following a major illness, even after saving for retirement for many years.