If you’re starting to explore assisted living options, you probably have plenty of questions about financing. After all, the average monthly cost of assisted living nationwide is $3,800, with specialized Alzheimer’s care costing an average of $1,200 more. Here are 7 common questions about financing senior living.
#1 – How much will it cost?
Assisted living costs vary widely, not only from facility to facility but from state to state. As of 2015, you could find one-bedroom, single-occupancy assisted living apartments as low as $600 in Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee, while rates could run over $10,000 in states like California, New York, and Wisconsin.
As of 2018, Texas is the 15th-most-affordable state for assisted living, with a median yearly cost of $42,000 and a 0.75 affordability index when comparing the cost of assisted living to the state’s median income.
#2 – What’s included in the cost?
Facilities may offer all-inclusive or a la carte pricing. If your loved one requires a lot of services, all-inclusive may be a better deal, but if your loved one is still fairly independent or there are a lot of things your family can do for them, a la carte pricing may be the better value.
#3 – Should we consider moving our loved one to a cheaper city?
As previously stated, costs can vary widely from area to area. If you have siblings or family in other places, it may be worth exploring costs in those cities. The move could save thousands of dollars every month and tens of thousands of dollars a year.
#4 – Will Medicaid cover anything?
Medicaid programs vary greatly from state to state. 43 states do allow Medicaid to cover some part of assisted living costs, but how much and what’s covered is different from state to state. You can learn more about each state’s Medicaid program here.
#5 – Does Medicare cover anything?
While Medicare will still cover medical expenses, it does not cover any part of assisted living, room and board, or personal care.
#6 – Where should we look to find financing?
Here are some places to look for resources to finance senior living:
- Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Benefit
- State Non-Medicaid Programs
- Social Security
- Reverse Mortgages & HELOCs (Home Equity Lines Of Credit)
- Life Insurance Benefits and Conversions
- Assisted Living Loans
- Long-Term Care Insurance
#7 – Are there people who can help?
There are a variety of people who can help you figure out the maze of financing in different ways.
- Public Benefits Counselors work for local agencies and help people understand financial options for assisted living but are not financial planners. They don’t charge for their services.
- Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) help families come up with and start long-term-care plans, and some will help with light financial planning. They’re typically paid out of pocket.
- Eldercare Resource Planners (ERPs) specialize in creating financial plans for the elderly. While they are typically paid for out of pocket, they can often find enough savings to pay for themselves.
- Elderlaw Attorneys are the most comprehensive (and expensive) source for assisted living financial planning, though they may not be familiar with local assistance options for lower-income families.