Assisted Living: 5 Common Financial Questions

Moving into an assisted living facility is a major step in elderly life. On top of the emotions are concerns about how this move may affect your and your loved ones’ finances.

Here are five of the most pertinent questions to ask of every assisted care community you look into. 

1. How Much Will It Cost?

What you or your loved ones will pay for assisted living varies, depending on the facility you choose and the services it provides. The average cost of assisted living facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL, runs around $3,825 a month. In surrounding areas, you may be able to find a facility that costs less than $3,000.

Make sure to ask what services and amenities are included in the price. Some communities offer resident care, meals, housekeeping, and medication supervision in their fees. There may be added costs for separate apartments, pet deposits, supplementary meal plans, internet service, or specialized care. 

2. Does the Facility Charge One-Time Fees?

Generally, skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, charge single fees before residents move in. These fees might apply toward administrative costs or physical health evaluations.

Most facilities also require an upfront, non-refundable deposit for securing a space, typically around $1,500 to $2,000, possibly more. Ask your representative which one-time entrance fees might apply to your stay.

3. Can Medicare or Medicaid Help Pay for Assisted Living Facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL?

Medicare does not help pay for assisted living arrangements – only professional medical care. Medicaid, on the other hand, may be able to help defray the cost of assisted living in Florida.

Certain Medicaid programs under the broader Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Long-Term Care Program provide a modest subsidy to cover monthly expenses. These benefits are given through the federal government through the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver.

However, help from the HCBS program can be difficult to get due to limits on how many can enroll. Currently, there’s a waitlist to get in, with the most unwell individuals getting the highest priority. Some seniors may exceed the income limits for Medicaid assistance and may not qualify. 

4. Can VA Benefits Help Pay for Assisted Living?

If you are a veteran, you may be able to pay part of your assisted living expenses with the Aid and Attendance benefit that the Department of Veteran Affairs offers. 

This often-overlooked program subsidizes needs-based help for many aspects of assisted living, including physical care and daily routine help. The resident’s condition does not have to be the result of military service to receive VA help. 

5. What Programs Can Help Pay for Assisted Living?

Besides the Medicaid and VA provisions above, you may be able to find financial help from state programs, Social Security, life insurance benefits, long-term care insurance, and some loan programs specifically for assisted living.

New facility residents who can’t sell their home before moving in may be able to secure a short-term bridge loan to finance their assisted living arrangements, taking off the pressure to sell before it’s most profitable to do so.

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