How to Prepare for & Save on Assisted Living Costs

Years ago, when you started saving for retirement or a rainy day, the cost of assisted living might not have been on your mind. If you or your loved one are considering making the transition into an assisted living facility, the incoming cost might seem intimidating. Don’t let the cost paralyze you with sticker shock and become a roadblock on your journey.

Let’s walk through some commonly-asked questions about paying for assisted living, and learn how you can make it happen for you or your loved one.

What is the average cost of assisted living?

The cost of senior living is correlative with the cost of living in the area. For example, the monthly assisted living costs in California would be more expensive than assisted living in Nebraska. As of 2018, the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. is $4,000 per month. Does this number seem high for a monthly cost of living? Probably, especially when you are used to living on your own.

Keep in mind that most assisted living prices are all-inclusive. All-inclusive means everything you need during the month is covered in that one cost, like your rent, utilities, food, transportation, assistance, activities, and more. Often, assisted living facilities will offer add-on services at additional cost. Make sure to be in contact with the assisted living facility you are interested to see what costs are not included in your monthly fee.

Will my health insurance cover assisted living costs?

Unfortunately, not always, depending on your policy and type of insurance. Let’s walk through the different types of coverage and see what each might cover:

  • Medicare: Medicare typically will not pay for assisted living, since Medicare is meant to only pay for medically necessary care. Medicare considers assisted living to be custodial care. Sometimes people get confused about Medicare covering assisted living costs because Medicare will often help cover the cost of short-term rehabilitation.
  • Long Term Care Insurance: Long Term Care Insurance policies often help cover or reimburse you for the cost of senior living. If you or your loved one are considering making the transition to an assisted living facility, you should talk with your insurance agent to see exactly what your policy will and will not cover. Also, it’s not uncommon for an insurance company to require proof that you need assistance with ADLs to receive assistance.

Please remember that we are not financial advisors, and you should talk to your insurance agent to learn more about your long term insurance options and assisted living costs.

What about assisted living for seniors on Social Security?

Many seniors plan on relying on their social security income to cover the cost of senior living. While social security can be used to pay for assisted living costs, it will only cover a fraction of the cost. It can be a great supplemental tool to help offset some of the financial burdens of assisted living, but you should not count on social security to cover the cost of assisted living for you or your loved one.

How else can I lower assisted living costs?

Aside from insurance and social security, there are several other ways to make sure that you are taken care of financially, or able to afford paying for assisted living in the future.

  • Start saving early. While you’re never too old to begin saving, the younger you are when you start, the better. Assisted living might seem like it’s a long time off, but time flies, and you also never know if you might have to help a family member pay for assisted living expenses. Make sure to consult with a financial advisor to determine the best plan for your finances.
  • Pick a smaller apartment. Most assisted living facilities offer at least a couple of different apartment size options. Usually, a smaller apartment will be cheaper. To shave a little off your total cost, consider sacrificing a little square footage.
  • Shop around. Don’t choose an assisted living community without looking at other options. Research your choices, and compare prices and amenities.
  • Consider your needed level of care. The cost of assisted living greatly depends on the level of care that you need. If you are a senior adult who won’t need a lot of medical assistance or constant care, consider finding a senior living community where you can customize the services that you receive. If you or your loved one will need daily help with ADLs or medical care, consider finding an assisted living facility where the cost is all-inclusive.

 

Culpepper Place is dedicated to giving you the care and quality of life that you deserve. Contact Culpepper Place with any questions you have about costs and financial arrangements.