Jun 29, 2023

How much does a skilled nursing facility cost?

Manny Cominsky

Skilled nursing facilities play a crucial role in providing specialized care for seniors who require assistance with their daily activities and have specific medical needs. However, the cost of skilled nursing care can be a significant concern for seniors and their families. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the average cost of skilled nursing facilities, the services they provide, and various ways to pay for care. By understanding the financial implications and available options, you can make informed decisions about skilled nursing care for yourself or your loved ones. To learn more about paying for skilled nursing care read our guide below or reach out to the Sunbound team for more information

Understanding Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities, often referred to as nursing homes or skilled nursing communities, are residential care settings that offer round-the-clock nursing care and support for individuals with complex medical needs. These facilities provide a wide range of services, including:

Nursing Care: Skilled nursing facilities have a team of trained nurses who provide specialized medical care, administer medications, and monitor residents' health conditions.

24-Hour Supervision: Residents in skilled nursing facilities receive 24/7 supervision to ensure their safety and well-being.

Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Skilled nursing staff assist residents with essential daily activities such as bathing, dressing, mobility, toileting, and eating.

Rehabilitation Services: Skilled nursing facilities offer rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, to help residents recover from injuries, surgeries, or illnesses.

Specialized Medical Care: Skilled nursing communities can accommodate residents with specific medical necessities, such as feeding tubes, tracheostomy tubes, and respirators.

It is important to note that skilled nursing facilities differ from other senior living options, such as assisted living communities or board and care homes. While assisted living communities provide support with daily tasks and offer varying levels of care, skilled nursing facilities specialize in providing comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation services.

Average Cost of Skilled Nursing Facilities

The cost of skilled nursing facilities varies depending on several factors, including location, duration of stay, type of room (private or semi-private), and the level, and nature, of care required. It is essential to consider both the daily and monthly costs associated with skilled nursing care.

Average Daily Cost

The average daily cost of skilled nursing care depends on the location and the type of room chosen. The national median cost for a private nursing home room is approximately $297 per day, while a semi-private room costs around $260 per day. It is important to note that private rooms generally have higher costs than semi-private rooms.

Average Monthly Cost

While some individuals may require short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities, others may need more extended periods of care. Understanding the monthly costs can provide a clearer picture of the overall financial implications. On average, a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility costs around $7,908 per month, while a private room has a median monthly cost of approximately $9,034. These costs include room, board, nursing services, and access to other amenities provided by the facility.

Ways to Pay for Skilled Nursing Care

Given the substantial costs associated with skilled nursing facilities, it is essential to explore various payment options to make care more affordable. Here are some common ways to pay for skilled nursing care:

Medicare Coverage

Medicare, a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals aged 65 and older, can provide coverage for skilled nursing care under specific circumstances. Medicare Part A may cover a portion of short-term inpatient stays in skilled nursing facilities following hospitalization. However, Medicare coverage for long-term care or custodial care is limited. It is important to understand the eligibility criteria and limitations of Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facilities. 

Medicaid Assistance

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that can help cover the costs of nursing home care for eligible individuals with limited income and assets. Medicaid eligibility requirements vary by state, and financial eligibility is a key factor in determining eligibility for skilled nursing care coverage. If eligible, Medicaid can cover 100% of the cost of care in a nursing home, but coverage for medical services outside the facility may be limited. Consulting with a Medicaid planner can help navigate the complexities of Medicaid payments.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is designed to cover expenses related to custodial care, including nursing home stays. It is important to purchase long-term care insurance before the need arises, as premiums may increase significantly if purchased later in life or when care is imminent. The coverage and benefits vary depending on the policy, so it is crucial to compare options and understand the terms and conditions of the insurance plan.

VA Benefits

Veterans and their spouses may be eligible for benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help cover the cost of care in skilled nursing facilities. VA benefits can extend to various senior living options, including nursing homes, assisted living communities, and in-home care. To access VA benefits, veterans need to be enrolled in VA health care and meet specific eligibility criteria. Exploring the available services and coverage levels through the VA can provide valuable financial support for skilled nursing care.

Personal Savings and Private Pay

Some individuals may choose to pay for skilled nursing care out of pocket using personal savings, retirement accounts, or the sale of assets like a house or car. While this approach may require significant financial resources, it offers the flexibility to select a preferred facility and access care without relying on insurance coverage or government assistance programs. However, it is essential to carefully consider the long-term financial implications and evaluate the sustainability of self-funded care.

Other Options

Additional options for financing skilled nursing care include life insurance policies with accelerated death benefits, reverse mortgages for homeowners aged 62 or older, and supplemental health insurance plans like Medigap. Each option has its own benefits and considerations, so it is crucial to research and understand the terms and requirements before making decisions.

It is important to note that each individual's financial situation and eligibility for various payment options may differ. Consulting with financial advisors, insurance professionals, and senior care experts can provide personalized guidance and help navigate the complex landscape of paying for skilled nursing care.

Understanding the costs associated with skilled nursing facilities is crucial for seniors and their families when planning for long-term care. By exploring the average cost of skilled nursing care, the services provided, and various payment options, individuals can make informed decisions about the best approach to ensure quality care while managing financial considerations. Whether through Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, VA benefits, personal savings, or other financing options, it is essential to evaluate each option's benefits, limitations, and eligibility requirements. By planning ahead and seeking professional guidance, seniors and their families can navigate the financial aspects of skilled nursing care and make informed choices to meet their unique needs and preferences.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior living more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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