IRAs And Medicaid

When it comes to IRAs and Medicaid eligibility the question that gets asked is, “How does my IRA affect my eligibility for Medicaid?”

Many states share similar guidelines when it comes to exempt and non-exempt assets in IRAs. Essentially, it boils down to this: if the IRA is not in payout status (the IRA owner is not taking required minimum distributions) then the assets in the IRA are included (non-exempt) in the determination of eligibility. However, if the IRA is in payout status and the owner is now taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) the total amount of the IRA is not included, but the annual income from the RMDs is.The same would be true regarding 401(k)s, 403(b), and other qualified plans that may require RMDs after age 70 ½.

There are some states (Illinois for example) that treat IRAs, a 401(k), and pensions as exempt. Check your state’s laws to see where you fit in.

Another asset that works similarly is an annuity. Like the IRA, if an individual owns and annuity and it is not in payout status (it hasn’t been annuitized), the entire account balance is deemed non-exempt and it is considered an includible asset. If the annuity has been annuitized and is now rendering a steady stream of guaranteed payments, then the annuity balance is not included, but the annual income from the annuity payments is.

About the author

Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA

Jim Blankenship is the founder and principal of Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd., a financial planning firm providing hourly, as-needed financial planning and advice. A financial services professional for over 25 years, Jim is a CFP professional and has earned the Enrolled Agent designation, a designation that qualifies him as enrolled to practice before the IRS. Jim is also a NAPFA-registered financial advisor, which designates him as a Fee-Only Financial Advisor.

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