How to Apply for Medicaid in Illinois

You can apply for Medicaid online by clicking here.  You can also submit a paper application, which you can find on the state website (here), or get assistance applying via an attorney.

Medicaid Eligibility Program Overview

Medicaid pays for the cost of Nursing Home care in Illinois that meets certain financial and health criteria.  The average cost of Skilled Nursing Care in Illinois is $80,532 annually, so securing Medicaid coverage is essential.  There are 700 nursing homes in Illinois, most of which accept Medicaid insurance as a form of payment.  Nursing homes in Illinois are currently 66.1% occupied, with an average of 58,515 patients currently using the 88,540 available beds.

Illinois Medicaid Asset Limitations for 2023

Individuals in Illinois can keep $2,000 when they apply to Medicaid for long-term care.  If they are over this amount, they must spend down on care.  It’s important to note that individuals are not allowed to give gifts of any amount for a period of 5 years (60 months) before applying for Medicaid.  If an individual’s assets are more than $2,000, they should learn about Medicaid Planning strategies.  This asset limit only applies to assets that are considered countable.  Countable assets include; savings accounts, checking accounts, retirement accounts and a second home.  If you have multiple assets and are looking to access Medicaid, it may make sense to speak with a Medicaid Planner or Elder Law attorney in Illinois.

Couples that both require Medicaid for long-term care in Illinois are allowed to keep $3,000 in assets.  If one spouse requires care and one does not, the spouse that does not receive care is known as the Community Spouse.  The Community Spouse is allowed to keep 50% of their assets up to $123,600 in countable assets, which is known as the Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

The maximum amount of home equity allowed when applying to Medicaid is $572,000.  Despite the fact that the home is not a countable asset, Medicaid can look for repayment in probate court from the sale proceeds after it stops paying for care.  It is important to understand if your home may be subject to the Medicaid repayment process.

Income Limits in Illinois For Medicaid

If the applicant has an income, they will need to do some Medicaid planning to create eligibility.  Unfortunately for Illinois residents, a Miller Trust, also known as a Qualified Income Trust, is not permitted.  If an individual is married, the spouse’s income does not typically count towards the income cap, but it is important to maximize income protection via the Monthly Needs Allowance rules.  The maximum amount of income the Medicaid office allows a community spouse to keep in Illinois is $3,000.  All of an individual’s monthly income must go towards their cost of care, which can include medical bills, prescriptions and other health care costs.  $30 can be set aside for the personal needs allowance.  The income limits are based on a percentage of the Supplemental Security Income defined by the Social Security Administration’s Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) and change annually.

Penalty Information in Illinois For Medicaid

If a gift of any amount is given in Illinois during a period of 5 years before applying to Medicaid, a penalty period will be initiated. This penalty period in Illinois is called a look-back period, and it can make an individual not eligible for Medicaid.   Medicaid will not pay for care until the penalty period is over. 

The average cost of Nursing home care (private room) in Illinois is $7,156, so penalties can become very costly for a family that has not planned appropriately for Medicaid.

Illinois Medicaid Eligibility Information 2023SingleCouple
2023 Illinois Medicaid Income Limitsn/an/a
2023 Illinois Medicaid Asset Limits $2,000 $3,000
2023 Illinois Home Equity Limits $572,000 $572,000