Is the sale of a motor vehicle considered "real property" by Medicare and Medicaid?

Joannepita asked...

Is the sale of a motor vehicle considered "real property" and the funds be subjected to access by a nursing home if my father in law goes into one being paid for by medicare/medicaid shortly after?

Expert Answer

What it seems like you're asking about is the eligibility rules for Medicaid coverage of a long-term nursing home stay. Those Medicaid eligibility rules provide long-term nursing home coverage only for people with very low income and few assets other than their home. A home and the land it sits own is called "real property," which is the legal term that distinguishes land and houses from moveable "personal property." A motor vehicle, however, is NOT real property but instead is considered personal property, which is not exempt from Medicaid eligibility limits for nursing home coverage. (These rules are different from the eligibility rules for Medicaid coverage of medical care, which allow a person to own a motor vehicle (up to a certain value, in some states) without that vehicle being considered as an asset.)

So, whether your father-in-law keeps the vehicle or sells it, the value of the vehicle (or the money received for its sale) is considered an asset which is counted by Medicaid when it determines his eligibility for long-term nursing home coverage. If the value of the motor vehicle or the money received from its sale puts your father-in-law's total assets above the Medicaid eligibility limit for nursing home coverage, he would have to use that money to pay for his nursing home care (or other legitimate medical or other personal expenses) until his total assets are down to the Medicaid eligibility level.