How To Pay for Assisted Living – When an assisted living community says that its fee is all inclusive, it means that a single monthly fee covers rent, meals and such additional services as housekeeping or transportation. Fee-for-service pricing means that residents pay only for those services that they use. The all-inclusive model is less expensive if you use a full suite of services, while the fee-for-service approach offers better savings if residents require only certain services or will use outside assistance.
Costs for assisted living vary from state to state. In the South and the Midwest, the approximate average monthly costs range from $2,800 to $4,500. In the Northeast and on the West Coast, $4,200 to $6,050 per month is the norm. Expect additional costs for dementia care.
States also refer to assisted living by a variety of names: board and care homes, dementia care facilities, adult family care, alternative care and congregate housing.
As you are probably aware, Medicaid pays for some of the cost of assisted living. However, not every state handles Medicaid contributions the same way. Financial assistance from Medicaid comes through several different types of Medicaid programs.
- Medicaid waivers, also called home and community-based services waivers or 1915(c) waivers, usually allow monthly income limits that are higher than those of regular, state plan Medicaid.
- Medicaid managed care model.
- State plan personal care, or personal assistance services, which pays for personal care and allows beneficiaries to receive care in assisted living communities. This is considered a regular Medicaid benefit, an entitlement for anyone who is eligible to receive services.
In general, states are increasing the level of assistance offered in assisted living because it’s less expensive than skilled nursing homes are. But the kinds of aid one can expect in each state vary. Although Medicaid may not pay for room and board, some states provide a limited allowance for all nonmedical expenses, a work-around for those who need a bed.
There’s also financial assistance for veterans — a pension called the Aid and Attendance benefit, which provides assistance for single and married veterans via monthly payments. Eligibility is complicated, and there can be extensive wait times for approval. Veterans may be eligible for both Medicaid and the Aid and Attendance benefit, so reviewing both programs is advisable. Veterans who participate in the Veterans’ Directed Care program may also be able to spend their funds on an independent living community membership. They may want to check out what those communities offer, although they should be aware that the term can mean different things in different states. Most often, it refers to a senior living community that doesn’t provide personal care supportive services but may have recreational activities and group meals.
All the programs we have mentioned help offset the cost of residing in an assisted living community. Some provide cash assistance not specifically designated for assisted living, but that assistance can be used for that purpose. Others provide a benefit supplement for beneficiaries residing in assisted living communities instead of at home. There also are state-owned assisted living residences with pricing well under market rates.
Assisted living facilities provide room and board, therapy, and nursing supervision while being less expensive and less medically intensive than nursing homes are. They can also include memory care for dementia patients.
Let us know if we can help guide you to make the right decisions for your situation.
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