How Do I Pay for Assisted Living?

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 23 June 2011

Assisted living is an extremely popular option for those who need assistance with day-to-day tasks but do not necessarily require the advanced medical/skilled care provided in a nursing home. Some prefer assisted living care because it fosters independence in a community setting.

Although an affordable alternative when compared to nursing home care, assisted living costs are still rather high. But there are a number of ways to pay the bill, although payment options vary by state and by assisted living community (and some of these funding streams could change as per this morning’s article on Medicaid). Check with your state’s Office on Aging or Area Agency on Aging (locate it here) to determine what’s available.

  1. Out-of-Pocket/Private Pay – The great majority of assisted living facilities are private-pay only, i.e. you (or your family members) pay the bill.
  2. Long-term Care Insurance – Many policies cover assisted living services.
  3. Medicare – Medicare does not pay the entire bill for assisted living, but the Medicare home health benefit can sometimes cover the cost of assisted living services if certain eligibility requirements are met.
  4. Medicaid – As with the Medicare home health benefit, some states allow Medicaid funding to cover assisted living services based on certain eligibility requirements.
  5. SSI – Some states permit the use of Supplemental Security Income for assisted living cost coverage.


(Sources: National Senior Citizens Law Center , National Center for Assisted Living)

There are 3 Comments about this post

  1. As an owner of assisted living facilities I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with people with the exact same question. It’s a tough one to answer and there is no best answer, every family is different. I’ll be sure to bookmark your post.


    on 24 June 2011 / 2:58 PM

  2. Thanks for your comment! It is a tough one to answer so I tried to make it clear in the post that these are guidelines for payment options and that further research may need to be done. But you’re right: each family, each state, and each assisted living community’s fee structure is different and will impact funding streams.

    I hope the piece provides a starting point though, and at least makes it clear that, unlike nursing home care, the full cost of assisted living is not covered by Medicare.

    Thanks for bookmarking the post!


    on 24 June 2011 / 3:02 PM

  3. [...] Though most assisted livingcommunities are primarily private pay (residents must pay for housing, care and services out-of-pocket), a specific number of beds are reserved for seniors receiving Medicaid funds. (Read more aboutpayment options for assisted living care here). [...]


    on 26 September 2012 / 2:09 AM


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