Paying for Assisted Living

Costs for assisted living communities vary greatly, and depend on the size of rooms, amenities, services provided, and location. Calculating the approximate cost is important as well as understanding what happens if private, personal funds are depleted. 

Communities should willingly provide consumers with key information regarding base rates, specific fees for additional services, occupancy levels, staffing, and ownership. Obtaining this information is crucial in choosing the appropriate assisted living or residential care community.

Assistance Programs

While Medicare does not cover assisted living, certain health care services may be available under specific, limited circumstances. Supplemental Security Income may cover some costs, and communities may participate in grant programs, the Medicaid program or offer internal assistance programs. The community’s management should be able to answer your questions concerning available assistance programs.


Under certain conditions veterans and/or their spouses may be eligible for benefits to help pay for some of their care in an assisted living community. For more information about the Veterans Administrations’ “Aid and Attendance” program visit or contact your regional VA office.

Private Pay / Long Term Care Insurance

In addition, several private health and long term care insurance policies include assisted living/residential care coverage. There is a feature built into some life insurance policies that allow a policy holder to receive a tax-free advance on their life insurance death benefit while still living in order to help pay for long term care needs. However, the majority of assisted living costs are paid through personal finances of residents and/or their families.