The sunny state of California provides miles of sandy beaches, rolling mountains, and pleasant weather throughout the year, making it a preferred retirement destination. California ranks high in the nation based on different factors such as access to health care, crime rates, local air quality, amount of public libraries, parks, and public transportation alternatives.
The state is home to medical facilities of world-class calibers, such as UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. More than 7,400 assisted living facilities are available for those who require assistance with daily activities. At $5,250, assisted living costs are several hundred dollars more than the national average for seniors who need long-term residential care.
Review more about assisted living costs in California, as well as how these expenditures compare to those in neighboring states and other types of care within the state. An overview of financing options and a summary of other financial assistance are also included.
As per the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of care for assisted living residents in California is $5,250. This is several hundred dollars more than the national average of $4,500 a month, suggesting that this state is among the most expensive in the nation for long-term residential care services.
However, acquiring services in California may be more cost-effective than in Hawaii, where assisted living costs $5,375 per month. The average annual rate in Oregon is $5,045, which is lower than the national average of $5,045. Arizona and Nevada, with respective monthly fees of $4,000 and $3,750, are viable alternatives for those looking to save money.
In California, the monthly cost of assisted living ranges from $3,450 to nearly $7,000. Visalia has the lowest reported rates in the state, although Merced and Hanford are comparably reasonable, with monthly rates of $4,000 and $4,350, respectively. At $4,950, care expenditures in Vallejo exceed the national median. Santa Cruz seniors spend an average of $5,550 per month, while San Jose seniors pay an average of $6,000 per month. Santa Rosa is the most expensive city examined in California for services, with assisted living facilities charging $7,048 per month.
Seniors in California have a variety of options for long-term care depending on their lifestyle goals, care requirements, and budgets. Monthly costs for assisted living are modestly priced at $5,250. Those who receive care in their own homes spend $6,101 per month for basic home care and specialized home health care, while those who attend adult day health care facilities pay reasonable monthly rates of $1,842. Nursing home care is the most expensive option, with semiprivate accommodations costing $9,794 per month.
Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid health care program, may help eligible California seniors pay for assisted living. Although Medi-Cal does not directly fund residential long-term care services, it reimburses those enrolled in its Assisted Living Waiver for these services. This waiver compensates for assisted living services for persons who require this level of care as an alternative to nursing home confinement.
ALW has a limited number of participant slots, in contrast to Medi-Cal, which is a right that guarantees coverage to all individuals who meet eligibility requirements. The enrollment dashboard of the Department of Health Care Services provides current waitlist information.
The Assisted Living Waiver covers a wide variety of services based on an individual's evaluated needs as determined by a Medi-Cal social worker. These services can be:
Assisted Living Waiver Programs in California
The ALW is a community-based option for nursing home care for adults with substantial care needs who desire assisted living. This program is available to all Californians. To be eligible for coverage, however, individuals must reside in a facility that accepts Medi-Cal reimbursement. In addition, the ALW does not pay room and board, but expenditures are capped for Supplemental Security Income recipients.
To determine eligibility for the ALW, individuals must undertake an evaluation of their care requirements. A registered nurse conducts this evaluation, which individuals schedule through their local Care Coordination Agency. To apply for this program, seniors must contact their local agency for a phone pre-assessment and schedule an appointment for the actual evaluation.
To qualify for Medi-Cal, applicants must satisfy the following requirements:
Single candidates can have a maximum annual income of $17,609 effective in 2022. Coverage is also provided for residents of skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities. Medi-Cal eligibility is assured by participation in specific programs, including Supplemental Security Income and State Supplemental Payment Programs.
Seniors must file a CoveredCA.com online Medi-Cal application to apply for Medicaid. Alternatively, they may send a printed copy to Covered California at P.O. Box 989725, West Sacramento, California 95798, or their county office. To obtain an ALW, please contact your local Care Coordination Agency. Three to six months are required to complete this process.
Seniors who are not qualified for other types of financial help (due to location, financial circumstances, or other reasons) still have options. The list below provides an overview of some of the most common methods for making assisted living affordable.