Paying For Assisted Living In Texas
The month-by-month cost of assisted living in the United States averaged $3,628 in 2016. Individuals receiving additional care to address needs stemming from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounted for an additional monthly cost of $1,150, bringing their total to $5,100. These figures are a national average; actual costs vary widely in different regions. For the Mid-West and South, monthly averages range between $3,000 and $3,600.
For Texas, average monthly assisted living costs hit $3,515 per month in 2016. This is just slightly below the national average reported above. In certain parts of the state (for example, San Antonio, Austin, Odessa, Victoria, and Amarillo), expenses are higher, with monthly averages ranging from $4,000 to $4,600. These averages serve to give some insight into the average assisted living Houston cost for an aging parent.
Addressing the growing care needs of their aging parents places stress on baby boomers who are juggling their own careers and the needs of their children in addition to their parents. Most boomers consider providing for their parents’ care to be a top priority, and thus they have a vested interest in understanding the true cost of assisted living.
Assisted Living: The Costs
Most Americans find themselves dealing with at least some – or even all – of the costs of assisted living for their relatives out of their own pockets. For most families, the financial burden is met with a combination of savings, pensions, and Social Security and/or Veterans benefits. Many individuals tap the value of home equity (through selling, renting, or taking a reverse mortgage) to help pay for assisted living. Note that in a reverse mortgage situation, a spouse will need to continue living in the mortgaged home.
For a few families, the financial burdens of assisted living are eased by long-term care insurance. Only about five percent of American seniors have this type of insurance coverage, but it is a considerable help in paying for quality assisted living care.
The Relationship Between Medicare And Assisted Living
Medicare cannot pay the expenses involved with basic assisted living services like room and board and personal care. Individuals who incur medical expenses while residing in an assisted living facility will be covered by Medicare in the same way that they would if they were receiving care at home, in a hospital, or in a clinic.
Assisted Living And Medicaid
In every state, Medicaid is a viable option for paying for assisted living expenses in the long term. Medicaid waivers can be used to reduce the cost of both assisted living and in-home care in some states. The regulations, eligibility requirements, and rules which govern the relationship between Medicaid and assisted living vary from state to state.
An assisted living facility is generally one which provides housing, food, personal care, and medication management to its residents. Historically these services fell outside the purview of Medicaid in Texas, but that is starting to change.
Today there are two programs in Texas that can help pay for assisted living expenses through Medicaid. Specific criteria must be met to enter the programs. Besides basic Medicaid eligibility, you must also demonstrate a medical necessity for nursing home care. In the regulations, this is referred to as “meeting the nursing home level of care.” The two programs that can help are called STAR PLUS Medicaid Waiver and Community Based Alternative (CBA) Medicaid. Both of these programs are intended to help individuals find home, community, and assisted living services which can fulfill the same role as a permanent nursing home residence. STAR PLUS and CBA both have a limited number of slots, and neither program covers the entire state of Texas. You can learn more by inquiring at your nearest office of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability.
In Texas, Continuing Care Facilities, or CCFs, play a significant role in the assisted living landscape. CCFs deliver full-time supervision but omit the round-the-clock nursing care found in other facilities. Medicaid does not cover CCFs in Texas.
Financial Assistance Options
Beyond Medicaid, there are three principal forms of financial assistance for assisted living to consider.
- Programs of the federal and state governments that offer financial assistance besides Medicaid.
- Cost of living reductions designed to minimize the amount spent on family members and seniors, freeing up funds to pay for an assisted living facility.
- Asset liquidation in order to create additional funds for paying for assisted living care.
As noted above, many families meet their financial obligations for assisted living using savings. This is a limited and diminishing financial resource. This complicates matters because many assistance programs set their eligibility requirements based on what financial resources an individual has available. The bottom line is that more assistance options open up the longer an individual stays in an assisted living situation.
This is why it’s important to include long-term financial planning as an integral part of any assisted living plan. Besides ensuring that your aging loved one receives quality care, smart planning will also minimize the adverse effect that care has on your family’s financial position.
Financial planning for assisted living can be very complex, especially when it needs to be flexible enough to accommodate multiple possible health issues. Families looking for help with this planning process.
There are free benefits counselors working for Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging throughout Texas. Although these counselors are available without charge and have a solid understanding of local benefits, they may be understaffed and unfamiliar with less-common financial alternatives.
Some Geriatric Care Managers, or GCMs, include financial planning in the menu of services that they offer. GCMs involve out-of-pocket fees, but this also means that they generally deliver higher standards of service.
Because most families only start working with GCMs once the need for assisted living has become pressing, the options available to them are limited. Also, many GCMs focus more heavily on the healthcare side of geriatric care and thus lack financial expertise.
Financial Planners who specialize in elder care are able to provide the highest levels of expertise, but this also makes them the most expensive option for securing guidance. Their long-term planning acumen may also be balanced by a limited awareness of short-term options and local resources.
Assisting Hands Houston continues to be Houstons’ #1 choice when it comes to assisted living and elder in-home care. Please contact us or call us today with any questions you may have regarding your loved ones!