Many people assume assisted living is impossibly expensive or that they could never afford it. In reality, the cost of assisted living can be very affordable. Rates vary based on several factors, like location, services and amenities, and the amount of care a resident requires. When you take into consideration all the monthly costs of maintaining a house, and add on the value of meals, housekeeping services, a daily calendar of events, and on-site amenities, moving to an assisted living community can be a wonderful lifestyle change and also be within your budget.
Prices vary depending on the area of the country, just like all real estate. Genworth Financial, which conducts the most comprehensive report of senior living costs, places the current national average for assisted living at around $4,000 per month.
How Can I Pay for Assisted Living?
There are a few ways people usually pay for assisted living, including private funds, long-term care insurance, veterans benefits, and sometimes Medicaid. Private funds can be drawn from savings accounts or personal investment portfolios, like 401(k) accounts, pensions, or individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
When someone makes the decision to move into an assisted living community, most people sell their homes and use the equity that has built up to cover the costs.
For those who own homes, but who don’t want to sell them, it is possible to trade in equity for a loan. This is called a reverse mortgage. With this option, it may be necessary for someone to remain living in the home.
As everyone’s situation is different, your financial advisor would be a great resource in helping you to make decisions regarding the best way for you to finance a move to assisted living. Read on for more information about the common options.
Long-Term Care Insurance
This is a policy purchased via a private company. Most policies will not cover the costs unless the person is unable to perform two or more ADLs, like dressing, bathing, eating, or using the bathroom. Some insurance companies make evaluations using their own doctors to see if you qualify.
It’s best to get an integrated home care policy with 100 percent protection for care received either in a licensed assisted living or skilled nursing community or in an unlicensed setting such as your home.
Sometimes, it’s possible to convert a life insurance policy into a long-term care insurance policy. If this isn’t possible, you might be able to sell a life insurance policy for its present value, called a life settlement, and use the money to pay for assisted living care.
The Veteran Administration’s Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension is an additional part of a veteran’s regular pension that can pay for assisted living costs up to $1,881 per month for a single veteran and up to $2,230 for a married veteran as of 2019.
To qualify, veterans who served on or before September 7, 1980, must be 65 or older and must have had 90 days in service, one day of which must have been during a period of war. Even if the veteran never left the United States, they may still qualify as long as they met these service requirements. Also, the veteran must have not been dishonorably discharged.
There are additional income requirements and benefits for widows as well.
Does Medicare cover the cost of assisted living? This question comes up often, and unfortunately, the answer is usually no. There are certain circumstances where it may cover a portion if the care is considered medically necessary.
Assisted living, although sometimes seemingly necessary, is not considered medical. It is aimed at providing residents with room and board, a social and active lifestyle, plus assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs) if needed — rather than the skilled care services Medicare covers.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover assisted living costs, but the coverage, financial aid, and eligibility of a person differ from state to state. In some states, there is no Medicaid coverage for assisted living. And regardless of state, not all communities accept Medicaid benefits.
Whether or not a community accepts Medicaid depends on the type of licensure that they have from the state Department of Health.
Assisted Living Costs at The Bristal
The Bristal is Long Island’s premier family of assisted living communities. No other community in the area provides the same level of lifestyle, care, and amenities for the price.
To learn more about paying for assisted living and the costs you can expect, download your free guide today.