Page Reviewed / Updated - August 05, 2019
This guide is a resource for Laguna Hills seniors, their caregivers and family members to better understand some of the options they have when looking for senior living in the area. It is meant to identify various levels of senior living, clarify likely costs and help seniors and their loved ones plan for the transition into or out of care.
Finally, this guide identifies local resources that can help seniors pay some of the cost of living at home and connect with the programs that can lift much of their financial burden. For an in-depth look at the options and costs associated with senior living in the state, please see our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in California.
Senior care costs in Laguna Hills are generally lower than the equivalent costs in the rest of the state of California, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Assisted living in Laguna Hills, for example, averages $3,500 a month, while the state average for the rest of California is $1,000 higher, at $4,500 a month. Likewise, nursing home care is also less expensive in Laguna Hills, albeit less so. A semi-private room in a Laguna Hills nursing care facility averages $7,559, while the state average is $8,365 a month.
Note: Senior care cost data wasn’t available for Laguna Hills, so the data for the closest city, Riverside, was used.
Assisted living in Laguna Hills costs an average of $3,500 a month, which is significantly less than the California state average of $4,500 for similar senior living. Stockton meets Laguna Hills' average, at another $3,500 a month, while Los Angeles and San Diego match California's higher average of $4,500 each.
San Francisco is the most expensive city surveyed for assisted living. Seniors there pay an average of $5,500 a month for care, while seniors in Bakersfield pay just $3,150 a month for assisted living, among the lowest rates in the state.
Home care in Laguna Hills costs an average of $4,481 a month. This is nearly $500 a month lower than California's average cost of $4,957 for similar care. Stockton's average cost is in line with the state average, while Bakersfield and Chico are much closer to Laguna Hills, at $4,385 and $4,433 a month, respectively.
San Francisco reports some of the highest home care costs in the state, at $5,625 a month, or nearly $1,200 a month more than the average seniors pay in Laguna Hills.
Adult day care in Laguna Hills costs an average of $1,668 a month. This is very close to the $1,679 average monthly cost seniors pay in the rest of California. Most surveyed California cities hew close to these numbers, with Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego all reporting an average monthly cost for adult day care of $1,733.
Chico and Los Angeles are the standouts, however. Adult day care in the former city costs an average of $2,134 a month, while seniors in the latter pay $1,565 a month on average.
Nursing home care costs seniors in Laguna Hills an average of $7,559 a month. This is well below the state average cost of $8,365 a month for California at large. It is also well below the highest cost among reported cities, San Francisco, where the cost of a semi-private room can run to $9,148 a month.
Laguna Hills is near the low end of surveyed cities for nursing care costs. Only Bakersfield, where seniors pay an average of $7,513 a month for similar care, beats the price in Laguna Hills, and that by only a few dollars a month.
Seniors in Laguna Hills who meet the state's requirements for financial need may be able to get help paying the cost of senior living through the Medicaid low-income health insurance program, which is called Medi-Cal in California. This program is structured as an entitlement, meaning that all qualified seniors can sign up and start using program benefits right away, with no enrollment caps or waiting periods. In addition to regular and emergency medical care, Medi-Cal pays many of the routine expenses associated with long-term residential care in a facility.
To qualify for Medi-Cal, seniors must be citizens or legal residents of the United States and reside somewhere in California. Applicants' income is limited to 138% of the federal poverty line, which in 2018 put the maximum Medi-Cal income at $16,395 a year for individuals applying alone. Married couples applying together are allowed to earn up to $22,108 a year from all sources combined. Each additional adult who shares the applicants' household adds another $5,741 a year in allowable income. Seniors who earn over these thresholds, but who still earn less than 300% of the federal poverty rate, may still be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage, though the program may assign a co-pay or spend down of any given amount, depending on the recipients' exact income and medical needs.
Medi-Cal delivers health insurance through a network of in-state providers, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, which administer their plans as an HMO or PPO options. Seniors interested in these options can browse through plan types during the annual open enrollment period at the end of the year. Seniors who need low-cost health insurance can research different plans and sign up for Medi-Cal coverage through the Covered California website. Some verification of income and legal status may be required before approval, but these requirements can be temporarily waived in the event of acute medical need for coverage.
Many seniors are able to speed up the approval process by showing they are already participating in a low-income entitlement program before applying for Medi-Cal. These programs use the same income and asset standards as Medi-Cal, and so it is sometimes enough to show acceptance into one or more of them to qualify for Medi-Cal. Some compatible programs Medi-Cal accepts as evidence of financial status include:
Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)
Laguna Hills seniors who receive Medi-Cal may be able to get help paying the monthly cost of assisted living through the Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). ALWP vouchers pay for some of the costs of residential care for seniors who have medical clearance to move into a nursing care home, but who opt to live in assisted living instead. This program is available only at participating assisted living communities in 15 counties, including Orange County. Applications for an ALWP voucher generally goes through the benefits coordinator at the residential care facility.
Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver
Seniors in Laguna Hills who choose to stay at home, instead of moving into an assisted living facility, may get some of their costs covered through the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) waiver. Seniors can apply for an MSSP waiver through their Medi-Cal caseworker. Benefits the program covers include:
Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver
Seniors who choose to remain at home can apply for a Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver to pay some of the costs associated with moving out of residential care. Seniors moving out of residential care can apply for HCBA support in advance of their discharge from a skilled nursing home or assisted living facility.
Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)
Seniors in Laguna Hills can use the Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver program to cover many of the unexpected and easy to miss costs of living independently. Applications go through a Medi-Cal caseworker. Vouchers can be spent on most reasonable expenses, and benefits offered to enrollees include:
In-Home Support Services (IHSS)
Laguna Hills seniors who live at home, or in the home of a family member or other loved one, can get help hiring an in-home caregiver through the state's In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. After approval, seniors are visited by a program worker who assesses the senior's medical and lifestyle needs and allocates a set number of caregiver hours IHSS can cover. Seniors are then free to hire a caregiver, who may be a spouse, family member or friend, and authorize bi-weekly payments for caregiver services.Caregivers must be certified in CPR and basic rescue techniques by the Red Cross, and they must attend a one-day training session at a nearby IHSS office. Seniors can apply for the program through their assigned Medi-Cal case worker.
Paid Family Leave
Californians whose senior loved ones need temporary assistance at home may be able to take up to six weeks of paid leave from work under the state's Paid Family Leave Act. This program draws from ordinary payroll deductions until the worker needs to take time off to care for an immediate relative, often while the senior is transitioning home from residential care or recovering from an injury.
When leave is needed, the employed relative can apply for benefits through the state's Employment Development Department (EDD), which may verify both the family relationship and medical need for care. Funds are paid bi-weekly and may be spent without restriction, just like the worker's paycheck. Award amounts vary with the worker's accumulated benefits and average wages over a three-year look-back period, and they must be replenished before paid leave can be taken again.
|San Diego County Health and Human Services (HHS)||(858) 694-3900||San Diego County Health and Human Services (HHS) administers the federal Section 8 housing voucher that allows some Laguna Hills seniors to live in safe and comfortable rental homes. HHS also provides emergency homeless assistance and refers to seniors in Laguna Hills to affordable local properties. Seniors can apply online, by phone or at an Orange County HHS office.|
|Aging and Independence Services||(800) 510-2020||Aging and Independence Services provides training, support and financial assistance to caregivers in Laguna Hills. Seniors who live independently with caregiver support can apply for assistance by phone.|
|Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||(800) 411-7343||Seniors in Laguna Hills can get support for their home energy costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program can reduce home energy costs by up to 30%, as well as providing occasional emergency bill payment and disconnect assistance. Seniors can apply through San Diego Gas & Electric by calling and requesting an application packet.|