If I only need Medicaid for 2 years, do I need to continue spending down my IRA assets?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...


I understand that IRA assets are not counted for Medicaid eligibility if the applicant undertakes to spend them within the 60-months limit on himself. My question is, since I need Medicaid for 2 years only (Medicare will start then), will I have to continue to spend my IRA assets for another 3 years until nothing remains of them?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

It sounds like you are confusing Medicare with Medicaid. Medicare is an entitlement program of health insurance through the Social Security system. It only covers a hundred days maximum in a nursing home. Medicaid is a joint state-federal program which will pay for the cost of long term care in a nursing home, but for which you must meet stringent financial limitations. Some states do not count IRA assets in determining Medicaid eligibility while others do. Your best bet would be to contact an elder law attorney in your state to see what planning is appropriate for you.