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Nursing homes provide nursing care for the elderly around-the-clock, with 24 hour medical care available. These types of care are also referred to as skilled-nursing care and convalescent care. While seniors typically transition into a nursing community on a permanent basis, some homes also provide short stays for those in need of rehabilitation after an injury, illness or surgery that may require skilled nurses and/or therapists. Whether one uses these services part time or full time, nursing home care does come at a premium price compared to other health care options. However, it also provides seniors with all of the valuable services they need concerning medical care, socialization, rehabilitation and housekeeping services amid environments designed to offer the comforts of ‘home.'
The cost of nursing home care long term will depend on a number of factors such as your location, the provider you choose, how long you plan to stay and whether any type of special considerations are needed. Many facilities have all inclusive rates, but some do charge extra for services beyond housing, food and housecleaning such as expenses associated with physical therapy, speech therapy, memory care, etc. On average beneficiaries in the United States can expect costs to average:
Average rates have risen considerably over the past few years and are projected to continue rising significantly. Here’s a look at average and projected average annual costs over time:
Again, these costs will vary depending on which state the desired nursing home is located. Below are the national averages of monthly costs for nursing home care from semi-private to private room charges:
|District of Columbia||$9,125||$9,733|
Several states have decreases in these average costs over the past couple of years, though some have seen double-digit growth. Here’s a look at each state’s percentage change in average monthly nursing care cost between 2016 and 2018:
|District of Columbia||-8%||-8%|
The cost of assisted living nationally averages $132 per day, $4,000 per month and $48,000 annually. With the average annual costs of nursing home care being between $89,297 – $100,375 it appears that assisted living typically averages about half of the cost of assisted living options. However, rates are likely to be higher for those seeking specialized memory care or require special considerations for disabilities.
Traditional home health care aides assist seniors with daily activities of living, light housekeeping, offer medication reminders and serve as companions. Their wages average $20.50 per hour, $164 per day, $4,920 per month, and $59,040 annually. Skilled nursing care typically involves services similar to home health aides, but providers are trained and certified nurses or therapists who are able to offer additional care such as medication administration, wound and injury care and various types of therapy. Skilled care averages $220 daily, $6,600 monthly and approximately $79,200 per year.
In most cases, out-of-pocket nursing home costs are generally tax deductible under itemized medical expenses. If yourself, your parent, spouse or another legitimate dependent is in nursing care primarily for medical care, then expenses related to medical care, lodging and meals are deductible. However, seniors in nursing homes for personal reasons rather than medical, will only be allowed to deduct costs associated with actual medical care, but not meals and boarding costs.
The costs of nursing care expenses can be paid for privately, but can also be offset in a number of ways, such as through health insurance, life insurance, long-term insurance policies, savings, reverse mortgages, and local and regional agency assistance. However, many seniors want to know if medicare, medicaid and veterans programs will also cover nursing home assistance. The answer is…that depends.
Medicare will only cover skilled nursing care expenses in very specific situations and is not designed to pay for nursing home or custodial care costs long term. One such situation is when a senior has been hospitalized and released, but still requires a bit of specialized care. Medicare will help pay for short terms stays in nursing homes if they:
Those who meet all of these conditions under original Medicare will qualify for assistance as follows:
An excellent option for low-income patients is the state and federally funded program known as Medicaid. This coverage assists individuals with many types of medical care including doctors visits, hospital stays and long-term care services such as those received in a skilled nursing facility. Often, this program covers 100% of these costs, but there may be co-payments for certain beneficiaries. For those who qualify for Medicaid, this is the best choice for nursing care coverage.
Long term care services for veterans with service related injuries and disabilities enjoy full coverage from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at specified locations or through certain providers approved by the department. Those without service related disabilities may also qualify for Veterans Affairs benefits if they meed certain qualifications. However, depending on the veteran’s household income, there may be co-payments required.
You can explore an array of nursing homes and skilled care providers with ease by using our comprehensive nursing home directory. Our database allows you to search by zip code or state and then lets you narrow down your search by specific needs or preferences. However, you can also speak to a live representative for customized assistance by giving us a call.
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