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HOW WILL WE PAY FOR ASSISTED LIVING?

By Scott Ogburn

The average cost of assisted living is about $4,500 per month, but can be as low as $1500, or as high as $8,000.  These prices include rent and care costs, but do NOT include the cost of health insurance or medications, clothes or other personal items.  Included items are meals, utilities, upkeep of facility, real estate taxes, and other expenses usually associated with living at home.


Most people pay their assisted living costs from two sources: their monthly income and their assets like the sale of their home, IRA, bank savings, CDs, stocks, etc.  It is not an uncommon scenario for a family to clear about $120,000 from the sale of the house (after minor repairs, real estate agent fees, etc.).  If $2,000 per month income is available after insurance and medications are paid for, average assisted living costs can be covered for about four years.


Veterans Benefit:


Another source of payment available to veterans and their spouses is called the Aid and Attendance benefit.  If the resident or their spouse has served in the military during a wartime period, they may be eligible.  We strongly advise our clients to use a trusted company to help them apply for this benefit.  This will help ensure they actually get the benefit and expedite the beginning of payments.  Unfortunately, we have heard some very sad stories from families who did not use a service to help them apply for this benefit.  Call us for details.


Insurance:


Most assisted livings are private pay, meaning the resident must pay the cost directly.  Health insurances like Medicare, Human, and Aetna do not cover the cost of assisted living, just like they don’t pay one’s mortgage payment or the cost of a hotel stay.  The only time insurance will pay for assisted living is if the resident has a long-term care insurance policy.  


Medicaid:


Medicaid, a welfare program, will pay for some assisted living situations.  Generally speaking, in Virginia the individual must make less than about $1210 per month and have less than $2,000 in assets.  A UAI (Uniform Assessment Instrument) must be completed by an authorized assessor in order to determine if a resident will qualify for Medicaid services.  Your first step is to call your city or county’s Department of Social Services (Go to https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/ and locate the button “Find Local Office”).  In Virginia assisted living facilities that accept payment from Medicaid are called “Auxiliary Grant” (AG) communities. Residents who cannot ambulate (walk) on their own or who have more advanced cognitive issues will not qualify for AG facilities but will instead need to be placed in a nursing home that accepts Medicaid.


If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us.  Our help is provided at no charge to you and we won’t share your information with anyone.  You’ll be surprised at how good you’ll feel having solid information to make an informed choice!