Seniors in Wisconsin who are contemplating the move to a nursing home facility may rightly be concerned about the costs. According to the American Council on Aging, people in the Milwaukee area could expect to spend $344 per day for a private room in a nursing home, with an annual total of $125,378. For a shared room, a resident may spend $314, or $114,654 annually.

The American Council on Aging states that Medicaid may pay for the cost of a nursing home if a senior qualifies. Eligibility depends on a person’s income and assets. Every source of income counts, whether it is from veterans benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, alimony,  pension, employment wages or stock dividends, to name a few. If the person seeking Medicaid is married, only the income of the applicant spouse counts toward eligibility.

Assets must also not exceed the limit in order for a senior to qualify for Medicaid, but only certain assets count. In addition to credit union, savings and checking accounts and cash, countable assets include the following:

  • Stocks and bonds
  • Investments
  • Life insurance policies
  • Real estate the senior owns but does not reside in

A senior’s primary home is exempt as long as the senior or his or her spouse lives there and the equity value does not exceed $878,000. Therefore, a senior can move to a nursing facility without his or her spouse losing the home. Other exempt assets include the following:

  • Personal belongings and household items
  • Vehicles
  • Irrevocable burial trusts
  • IRAs and 401(k) accounts that are in payout status

The spouse who is not moving to the nursing home is known as the community or nonapplicant spouse, and this person is entitled to keep up to $126,420 of the joint assets.