Currently Missouri has the lowest asset cap for Medicaid coverage for the elderly and disabled, but this may change if Gov. Jay Nixon signs a bill, recently passed by the Missouri legislature, that would increase the asset cap over time.

The current asset cap of $1,000 in savings for individuals and $2,000 per married couple has been stuck in place since the introduction of Medicaid in 1967. The cap excludes the value of an individual’s primary residence, life insurance, and certain other assets. Due to the harshness of the cap, many disabled and elderly individuals have to spend down their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The proposed increase would lift this cap to $2,000 of savings per person in July 2017 and continue raising the cap by $1,000 per year until 2021 when the cap reaches $5,000 per person or $10,000 per married couple. After 2021, the cap is set to increase based on adjustments due to cost-of-living increases.

If signed, this bill would eventually significantly expand the number of disabled individuals and the elderly who would qualify for Medicaid benefits and reduce the extent to which individuals would have to spend down their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. The bill would also bring Missouri’s asset cap more in line with the caps in other states. Please see an elder law attorney to determine what the best planning course is for you and your family in terms of potential Medicaid benefits.

Note: this bill does not expand general eligibility for the Medicaid health insurance program as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.