Actual Costs of Senior Care: Learn What Medicare Does and Doesn't Cover to Define Senior Care Costs

The quality and costs of senior care vary widely. Planning for a secure retirement includes understanding both the senior care options and the costs. All seniors in the U.S.A. receive Medicare health insurance. Very low-income seniors with next to no assets may qualify for Medicaid health insurance. Medicaid qualifications vary by state and do provide the security of knowing if you should spend down all of your assets, you would receive long-term care in a nursing facility covered by Medicaid.

Ironically, Medicaid insurance provides more benefits than Medicare insurance, including paying for medications and for long-term care. You may not be able to choose which nursing home you go to, but you will at least receive free long-term care in a nursing facility for as long as needed with Medicaid benefits. Everyone else must privately pay for long-term senior care.

What are the senior care options?

  • Senior Home Caregiver
  • Assisted Living Community (Usually Must pay additional for 1-on-1 Caregiver)
  • Nursing Home
  • Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

What are the costs of each senior care option?

Senior home care costs between $16 - $25 per hour and $140 - $350 per day for 24-hour live-in care, depending on what part of the country you live.

Assisted Living Communities usually require a minimum of $4,000 per month available for rent, food and other activities. A one-on-one private caregiver or nursing aide costs more and sometimes is provided by a separate senior home care agency.

Costs of Long-term nursing care in a facility vary depending on if you are in a private or double room. In addition, many additional fees are charged for beauty salon services, additional personal care and therapy services. Costs can range from $170 to $600 per day. Check out the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide to understand the reality of long-term care costs.

Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes vary by state. Most seniors who can afford to privately pay for their senior care will enter a nursing home while Medicare pays for the services (Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home after a hospital stay or for rehabilitation, with doctor's approval). Then when their Medicare coverage runs out, they will move to the home for one-on-one private care which costs less than a nursing home. Most nursing homes staff one nursing aide to every 12 to 15 residents.

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