A Guide To Nursing Home Costs In 2021

Nursing Home Costs

It's a well-known fact that senior care costs can be substantial. In the United States, a private room in a nursing home costs an average of $102, 200 on a yearly basis. To add to this, the median cost of care for adult day health care services according to statistics from Genworth Financial's 2019 Cost of Care Survey is $19,500.

In comparison, the home costs for a semi-private room are $7,513 on a short-term monthly basis or $90,156 on a yearly basis for long-term care. To put things in perspective, the latest figures from the National Nursing Home Survey estimate that the average length of a nursing home stay is 835 days, which equates to over two years.

For low-income households, the cost of long-term care for a loved one may be a heavy financial burden to carry. Fortunately, however, there are insurance plans and federal programs that can help pay for the high level of care found in a skilled nursing facility.

If you've already looked at other alternatives and decided that your loved one needs access to skilled nursing care for dementia or other health conditions, a nursing home may be their best option.

At an assisted living home, they'll have constant access to nursing care as well as socialization and physical therapy. Some nursing homes also have flexible care choices and a range of services that can vary in cost.

In addition to state-funded initiatives that can reduce care costs, programs such as Medicare and Medicaid can help alleviate some of the financial burdens.

What Is A Nursing Home?

A nursing home is a specialized facility that is geared towards those who can't be cared for at home but also don't need to be in a hospital.

The types of care that a nursing home provides can vary from state to state. Some are designed to be more like hospitals, providing extensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy as well as the highest level of medical care.

Others are more like homes that provide individuals room and board in a more casual environment. They may not have fixed schedules, with staff members helping people with personal care and more.

The major benefit of a nursing home facility is that the majority of them hire qualified nursing aides that can give specialized medical care. Because of this, those with serious memory problems and mobility issues can greatly benefit from living in a nursing home.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing A Nursing Home?

Nursing home costs are perhaps the most significant factor that families consider when it comes to choosing a nursing care facility for a senior.

The cost of nursing home care can partially be covered by Medicaid, but can only be covered by Medicare on a short-term basis in special circumstances. In addition, life insurance policies don't cover care costs, making assisted living facilities less accessible for many.

Nursing Home Care Needs And Priorities

Another factor that can help you decide which skilled nursing facility is best for your loved one is outlining their priorities and goals. Aspects like specialized senior care, memory care, the option to have their own room, access to physical therapy, or even delicious meals can all impact their living experience.

Some seniors may have more intensive care needs compared to other individuals, which can also increase the cost of nursing home living per month or year.

Cost Of Nursing Homes In Different States

Talking to healthcare providers about which nursing facility they recommend most highly in your state can guide you in the decision-making process.

Depending on your zip code, the average cost of nursing home health can be much lower or higher than the national average. Places like New York and New Jersey charge several thousand dollars more when it comes to the cost of nursing compared to areas like Washington, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

To cover nursing home costs, it may be prudent to move to a different state while taking into account the cost of transportation as well as the proximity of friends and family.

Room Types In Nursing Homes

To cut down on home costs, choosing a semi-private room for your loved one means that they'll be living with a roommate, which can improve their socialization. Alternatively, a private room can give them more access to living space if they have a greater need for independence.

Choosing the right room is vital so that your loved one benefits the most from their period of long-term care.

Quality Of Skilled Nursing Care

Whether you're after a private room or a semi-private room, The Medicare Nursing Home Care Checklist contains a list of criteria to help you decide whether the nursing home you visit is the best one in terms of senior care. Look for handicap access to judge the level of nursing home care, and gauge the warmth of interactions between nursing home staff and residents.

Asking questions during your first visit, and making a second visit without calling ahead can distinguish a skilled nursing home facility from an unskilled one.

Lastly, carefully looking over your nursing home contract and asking questions about confusing clauses can help justify high nursing home costs and make your investment worthwhile.

What Are The Benefits Of A Nursing Home?

Assisted living can be pricey, but its benefits are numerous for the aging population. In the United States, the findings from the Census Bureau suggest that almost one out of three older Americans now live alone, leading to loneliness and a higher incidence of mortality.

In addition to access to skilled nursing from home health care aides, nursing homes can provide seniors with a host of social, physical, and emotional benefits when it comes to long-term care.

Complete Aid With Daily Tasks

For seniors who live alone, staying on top of chores like doing the dishes, putting away laundry, and running errands can be difficult to manage. With nursing home care, seniors can benefit from the perks of assisted living. Trained staff can see to their necessities and give gentle reminders when necessary.

Better Socialization

During long-term care, residents can mix and mingle with people their own age and make new friends who share common interests. They can also develop close relationships with skilled nursing staff and avail themselves of the extensive social network found in many nursing homes.

Increased Safety And Personal Care

For those who suffer from memory loss and are prone to slips and falls, nursing homes can provide access to immediate emergency care and protect elders from harm. You'll no longer have to worry about them forgetting to lock the door or turn off the stove after cooking a meal.

In the event that seniors go on excursions, they can have access to supervision to prevent them from getting lost. Public transportation can be confusing, so having a staff caretaker on their journey can also be helpful.

Delicious Food And Housekeeping Help

Some long-term care services also emphasize the food and housekeeping help found in nursing homes. Having cleaning staff can take care of daily tasks that seniors may otherwise find difficult, saving them valuable time and energy.

In addition, some nursing home care facilities also cater to the specific dietary requirements of the elderly with weekly meal plans and snacks. For those who have trouble eating healthy and nutritious meals, staff can help them stay on track in terms of diet.

Easy Access To Personalized Healthcare

Having 24/7 access to assisted living staff contributes to the overall costs of a nursing home. Residents can trust that the administration of medicine, emergency aid, and specialized forms of therapy.

In addition to health plans like Medicare, having access to health care providers and nurses can keep them in peak condition, especially if a health condition worsens.

Consistent Support From Professional Caregivers

Although family members may do their best to care for an elderly relative, nursing homes have a wider variety of medical assistance, health services, and high-tech equipment that the majority of homes do not. This around-the-clock support can ease the burden on family members who may have their own responsibilities on their plate.

How Much Do Nursing Homes Cost?

If you need to pay for nursing home costs, it's best to be financially prepared for the typically large figure that you'll need to face.

Data compiled by the American Council on Aging as of October 2019 describes how the nationwide average cost per day for a shared room is approximately $247. However, the cost per state can vary from a minimum of $150 to well over $1,000 on a daily basis.

These figures outline the full costs of nursing home care and services without public assistance from programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The good news is that there are several options that can lower these costs, including long-term health care insurance, aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other financial services.

Can Medicaid Pay For Nursing Homes?

Medicaid will shoulder the full cost of a nursing home for those enrolled in the program depending on certain factors. However, there are very specific conditions that need to be fulfilled to be eligible for this coverage.

Depending on your state, the patient needs to have very limited income and few assets. Medicaid is responsible for nursing services, rehabilitation, pharmaceutical services, dietary services, and more.

On the other hand, residents can be charged for a private room unless it is medically necessary. They'll also need to pay for additional social events and activities that go beyond the nursing home's facilities, personal reading materials, and other similar items.

Can Medicare Pay For Nursing Homes?

In contrast, Medicare will help pay for assisted living services only to a certain extent. The full amount of nursing care will be covered by Medicare for the first 20 days of care. For the next 80 days, Medicare will pay 80% of the costs. After the 100 day period has passed, they will no longer pay for nursing home care.

Will The VA Pay For Nursing Homes?

If you're a veteran, the VA can help pay for nursing home costs. Assisted living is covered under standard VA health benefits, but you may need to pay for additional services. Care settings include places like nursing homes, assisted living centers, adult day health centers, and more.

Can Insurance Pay For Nursing Homes?

Depending on your type of insurance, it may help pay for nursing home care services.

Some life insurance policies can be used to cover these costs, but doing so may fail to financially protect your family after you die. A long-term care insurance policy may be a much better option so that you’re not detracting from the policy's death benefit.

However, you should try to lock down the policy as early as possible as it may get too expensive as you age over time.

Who Pays For A Nursing Home If You Have No Money?

If you don't have the personal funds to pay for nursing home costs, one of the most common ways to cover the cost is through a Medicaid policy. Check the specific income requirements in your state to see if you qualify for long-term care.

Medicare is another option, but only covers a short-term stay of under 100 days for some cases. Because of this, looking into the Medicaid program might be more preferable depending on your Medicare benefits.

Long-term care insurance and other forms of insurance can also shoulder some of the costs, as well as state assistance, from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

FAQs

Does Medicare cover nursing home costs?

Some Medicare policies only cover nursing home costs for a short-term stay of under 100 days, which is not a good option if you're looking for long-term care. However, Medicaid has higher income limits that may qualify you for long-term payments.

How much does a nursing home cost?

An individual room costs an average of $102,200 on an annual basis, while the average cost of a semi-private room is around $7,513 a month, or $90,156 per year.

What is a nursing home?

It is a residential option for individuals who need access to specialized medical care that they cannot get in their own homes.

Nursing homes employ nurses and other medical staff that can supervise older adults and sees to their physical and mental needs. They can provide a sense of community and normalcy to those who are suffering from loneliness.

How can you pay for assisted living care?

Because the cost of assisted living care can be significant, you can partially pay for the cost of a nursing home through programs like Medicare and Medicaid. There are also other opportunities available for veterans and for those who have specific insurance plans.

Government facilities like your local Area Agency on Aging can also help you find financial aid, as well as other financial assistance services like reverse mortgages.

Are nursing home costs tax-deductible?

Yes, nursing home costs are tax-deductible. According to the IRS, if you, your spouse, or your dependent is living in a nursing home care facility for medical reasons, the entire cost including meals and lodging can be deducted from your taxes as a medical expense.

How much is a nursing home per month?

Nursing home costs on a per month basis cost about costs $8,365 for a private room, and $7,513 for a semi-private room. Long-term care can cost a great deal of money due to the personalized nature of care.

How much is the cost of an assisted living facility per day?

Depending on your room of choice, staying in an assisted living facility costs an average of $245 or $275 on a daily basis. Note that costs can vary depending on your zip code.

Additional Resources

Choosing A Nursing Home

This guide from Medicare will help you choose a nursing home and give you information on other care services including your rights, living alternatives, and payment issues. Looking over this information with a close friend or family member can guide you during your decision-making process.

Care Compare

This resource helps consumers compare different homes based on state and compare the quality of care at each location along with the staff. You can also:

  • Look for short-term care options due to rehabilitation from surgery as well as other specialized care options in your state
  • Obtain a checklist and guide to help you decide which living situation is right for your needs and budget

Rights & Protections In A Nursing Home

As a resident, you have certain rights and protections granted in Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes under federal and state law. This will help ensure that you obtain a high level of medical care and service.

Reporting & Resolving Nursing Home Problems

If you have a complaint in your specific nursing home and would like to file a report, you can use this link to voice your concerns.

Nursing Home Toolkit

The sad reality is that some nursing homes may be fraudulent and abusive towards their residents. This guide will help warn you of common signs you should look out for as well as eligibility and admission criteria for reputable nursing homes.

While the cost of a nursing home may appear prohibitive at first, Medicare and Medicaid can alleviate some of these costs in your state. The benefits and high quality of nursing home care are undeniable for seniors who are in need of greater medical attention and for those who may live alone.

Looking at online resources and asking your local community can help you make the right decision when seeking nursing home care.

If you're interested in reading more relevant resources for the elderly, feel free to check out our page at Senior Strong for the latest reviews on mobility equipment, bed aids, adaptive clothing, and more. Otherwise, contact us at Senior Strong today!

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