Assisted living costs can be manageable with the right mix of savings, governmental assistance and a little negotiating. It is imperative to ask each facility about their individual costs and services.
Costs vary generally depending on the following characteristics:
Size of apartment (studio, one or two-bedroom apartment)
Types of services needed
Type of residence
Geographical location of the community
Many communities charge a basic rate that covers all services, with an additional fee for special services. Most assisted living communities charge a month-to-month rate, but there are also long-term options available.
Typically, base rates only cover room and board and a service of daily meals, determined by the assisted living community. Sometimes there are entrance fees, deposits and laundry and housekeeping fees.
On average, monthly fees are approximately $2,000 in an assisted living facility, but can range from $500 to more than $3,500 depending on availability, location, and size.
The average cost for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment in the U.S. in 2014 was $3,500 per month; an increase of 1.19% over 2013 with a five-year annual growth of 5.71%. Studio and two-bedroom assisted living apartments varied, accordingly. (Data based from Genworth Financial)
Most assisted living services are included in the facility’s basic service costs, but some may be offered for additional fees. Generally, fees charged for an assisted living facility pay for the facility and some services.
Note: fees also differ between facilities and may be offered as an all-inclusive monthly price, tiered pricing based on required services, pricing based on individual services requested by the resident, or some combination of these.
Most residents pay for assisted living without assistance, although some states provide public assistance with payment in the form of Medicaid, Supplementary Security Income, or Social Services Block Grant programs. Private long-term care insurance and some managed care programs may also assist with costs incurred while living in this type of facility. Medicare does not cover assisted living facility expenses.
Those states that do subsidize assisted living services, especially personal care services, do so using Medicaid 1915c waivers. Participation in these state programs is limited because such waivers are only available to individuals meeting the state criteria for nursing home care. Some states also use alternate strategies to help lower the costs of assisted living, including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), taxable and tax-exempt bonds, and other programs.