Assisted Living Facilities – What’s It Cost?
Assisted Living facilities vary widely in cost depending on room size, services offered, and several other factors. Though most facilities accept only private pay, there are a few sources of payment for Assisted Living: long term care insurance policy benefits, Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit and some states offer assistance with payment, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.
Long term care Insurance Policies that cover Assisted Living can vary greatly in the conditions that they require before one is qualified to utilize their benefits and in the per diem offered. Most companies offer an assortment of policy benefits. The average benefit pays $50 to $150 a day for Assisted Living and requires that the policy holder needs assistance with at least three levels of care.
The Veterans Administration offers Aid and Attendance Benefit as part of an “Improved Pension” Benefit to the veteran or their surviving spouse. Veteran’s must have served at least one day in a foreign war period, provide required documentation and doctor’s statement of need and meet certain financial criteria to qualify. (we could provide a link to the VA site here http://www.veteranaid.org/) , or include my VA fact sheet). Currently a veteran is eligible for up to $1,703 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,161 per month.
Beginning in July of 2006, the state of Ohio implemented the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver Program. This program is overseen by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that assists with applications for Medicaid and the Area Agency on Aging. The program offers payment for Assisted Living Services and for Community Transition Services. Many Assisted Living Facilities require a waiting period prior to AL Waiver Usage. The Inn at Belden Village offers a few Medicaid certified rooms but requires residents to pay privately for at least one year before participating in the AL Waiver Program. Because the state’s reimbursement to providers is below the cost of providing care for the memory impaired, very few Assisted Living Residences have certified their Memory Care rooms.
Fees in Assisted Living can start at $2,500 a month and increase with amenities, level of care offered, and additional services provided to about $5,500 a month. Cost for residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other “special care” needs usually find that the monthly cost exceeds $4,000 because of the additional care and attention necessary. Many facilities also require a deposit that may or may not be refundable. The average cost for an assisted living facility falls between $90 and$170 per day, compared to $150 – $300 per day for a nursing home. Make sure you know what you are paying for. The cost almost always covers room and board and meals. Ask about which services, utilities, and care are also provided in the monthly cost and the additional fees for services not provided.
One other financial benefit to consider is the possible tax deductions for Assisted Living. IRS Publication 502 (2008) discusses long-term care and states, “You can include in medical expenses amounts paid for qualified long-term care services…” It goes on to further define “qualified long-term care services as “necessary diagnostic preventive, therapeutic,, curing, treating, mitigating, rehabilitative services and maintenance and personal care services.” Assisted living would generally fall under maintenance and personal care services. You may go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf, see Possible Tax Deductions for Assisted Living or ask your tax consultant for more details.