Some items of property are not counted. The legal term is that they are “exempt” from being counted. The most common examples of exempt assets are the home (in some circumstances); one car; ordinary household furnishings, clothing and equipment; burial plots and pre-need funeral contracts; and some other personal effects. None of these will be counted against the asset limit.
Almost everything else will be counted against the asset limit: cash on hand, money in checking and savings accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and other retirement savings accounts such as 401k or 403b plans, boats, 4-wheelers, vehicles other than the first one, etc.
In short, Congress intends that Medicaid be the last resort. Congress requires the single individual living in a nursing home to spend pretty much all of his own money and assets for his own care costs BEFORE Medicaid will step in to help.
The good news? Medicaid will assure that the single individual with no spouse or dependent at home gets nursing home care even after the money runs out.
The bad news? Medicaid will require almost all the money to run out before helping with the nursing home costs of an individual with no spouse or dependent child at home.