Financial Assistance, Costs and Payment Options for Eldercare in Illinois

This webpage will help Illinois residents understand assisted living, home care, and adult day care costs throughout the state. It also explores the payment options and financial assistance programs available to assist in caring for the elderly, be that in residential care or for aging in place at home.

The programs outlined here are comprehensive of what is available from the state of Illinois, but is not comprehensive of what is available at a national level. When searching for care assistance, it is important to explore all available options to find the most suitable program for the given situation. To do this, search for assistance nationwide by using our Resource Locator Tool.

 Did You Know?  As you move from the urban areas of Illinois to the more rural areas, the cost of eldercare services drops almost 25%.

Illinois Elder Care Costs

Assisted Living

In 2018, the median cost of assisted living in Illinois was found to be $4,070 / month. The most affordable assisted living care can be found in the areas around Peoria, Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, and Marion-Carbondale, where the monthly range is between $3,270 and $3,670 / month. The most expensive areas of the state for assisted living are Chicago, Springfield, and Bloomington-Normal where the cost can be as high as $4,570 - $6,270 per month.

Memory or Alzheimer's care, which provides a higher level of supervision and security, is typically more expensive than regular care in assisted living. In Illinois, assisted living residences charge approximately $1,170 month over the normal fees for Alzheimer's patients.

Home Care

In Illinois, the average hourly rate for home care is $21.75 per hour. The least expensive areas of the state are Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Danville, Kankakee, and Springfield, where the hourly rate is $19 - $20. Carbondale, Chicago, and Bloomington-Normal are the most expensive areas, where home care can cost several dollars more per hour, even reaching $25.25 / hour. Home health care, which provides minimal health care unlike regular home care, is also available throughout the state. This type of care costs approximately $1.75 / hour more.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care continues to be a very affordable care option for many families. Statewide, the average daily rate for adult day care is $71. The most affordable adult day care can be found in Bloomington, Decatur, Springfield, and, surprisingly, Chicago where the average cost is between $53 and $75 / day. The most expensive areas of the state are Rockford, Kankakee, Champaign, and Peoria where the range is $79 to $85 / day.

 

 

Illinois Financial Assistance Programs

Medicaid Programs & Waivers

Medicaid is health insurance for low-income and disabled individuals and seniors. Medicaid care was originally provided as institutional care, but now also covers a variety of services and benefits in one’s home and community. This is to prevent and / or delay nursing home placements. In Illinois, there are two managed care health plans that are relevant to the elderly.

1) HealthChoice Illinois is for Medicaid eligible state residents of all ages, as well as those who are “dual eligibles”, meaning they are enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. Via this program, long-term care services are available and include assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, and mobility, home health care, and adult day care. Learn more about program eligibility and benefits.

2) Illinois Medicaid-Medicare Alignment Initiative (MMAI) is intended for disabled individuals and seniors who receive both Medicaid and Medicare benefits. This health plan streamlines the services from both programs, allowing program participants to receive all services via one plan. Adult day care, personal care assistance, personal emergency response systems and other long-term supports are available via MMAI. Unfortunately, this program is not currently available statewide. To see where MMAI is available, click here.

In addition to the two above mentioned managed care Medicaid programs, Medicaid also offers waivers. Often referred to as Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, they allow for individuals to receive Medicaid care outside of nursing home residences. There may be wait lists for services as there are a limited number of participants that can be enrolled in each waiver.  Illinois currently offers three Medicaid waivers that are relevant to aging residents.

1) The HCBS Waiver for Supportive Living Facilities is appropriate for nursing home qualified individuals who prefer to live in an assisted living environment. This includes residential memory care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. While room and board is not covered via this program, supportive services are, and include the following: Personal care assistance, medication management, and chore services. Learn more about Supportive Living Facilities Waiver

2) The second relevant waiver is the HCBS Waiver for the Elderly, which helps individuals remain living at home by providing homemaker, adult day care, and emergency response services. Learn more.

3) The Community Care Program (CCP) provides a variety of services to assist the elderly in living independently. Benefits include personal care assistance, senior companion, and minor home modifications. Click here to learn more about this wavier. 

My Choices Demonstration Project was an option available under CCP that allowed for self-direction of services. However, this program was terminated in July of 2016. 

Medicaid Eligibility

In Illinois, Medicaid is run by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IHFS), but the Department of Human Services makes eligibility decisions and manages the application process. There are both income and asset eligibility qualifications. The Illinois Medicaid income limit for seniors is equal to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which changes on an annual basis. For an individual in 2018, this means their annual income cannot exceed $12,140 or $1,012 / month. For married couples, the income limit is $16,460 or $1,372 / month. The assets, or resources, limits for individuals and couples are $2,000 and $3,000, respectively. One's home (up to $572,000 in value), primary vehicle are not included when calculating asset values. Several other types of assets can also be excluded, such as household belongings and personal effects.

It is important to note that persons with incomes and / or resources over these limits can still become eligible for Medicaid in Illinois. The Pay-in Spend-Down option works similarly to an insurance deductible. It allows persons to spend their excessive income on their medical expenses, thereby qualifying after they have spent a specific amount. Illinois is an income cap state and does not allow Qualified Income Trusts (QITs), but does allow monthly excess income to be allocated to Pooled Income Trusts. Financial assets in excess of the limit can be converted into exempt assets. Both of these latter options are facilitated by the use of Medicaid planning professionals. For individuals that are near the financial limits, it is also recommended they consult with a Medicaid planning professional prior to application to ensure the best possibility of acceptance into Medicaid. Read about Medicaid Planning.

 

State Assistance Programs

Illinois offers several programs relevant to non-Medicaid eligible seniors that provide services, supports, or financial assistance for eldercare. Unfortunately, the state has also had to cancel support for some programs, which offered prescription medication assistance and tax relief.

1) Choices for Care is a unique program that provides a free consultation about care options. Click here for more information.

2) The Illinois Respite Coalition offers emergency respite care services. Learn more.

3) The Illinois Housing Development Authority had a program that provided financial assistance for home modifications to enable elderly state residents to remain living in their homes. Unfortunately, as of 2016, there were no longer funds available for this program.  Learn more.

4) The Home Accessibility Program (HAP) provides grants to elderly and disabled individuals who have limited funds in order to improve accessibility and safety of their homes. Depending on the area of the state in which one resides, the maximum grant amount can be as much as $25,000. For additional information click here.

5) The state has its own version of the National Family Caregiver Support Program called the Illinois Caregiver Support Program.  A page describing the program can be found here.

 

Other Financial Options for Care

In addition to the state specific options that help pay for care, there are many non-profit and federal options. Use our Resource Locator Tool to find other programs that help pay for or reduce the cost of care. There are also programs that help veterans with assisted living and there are eldercare loans available in Illinois.

 

Finding Affordable Care

To help families find the most affordable care in Illinois, we've partnered with several organizations that maintain databases of care providers. These organizations all provide free services that match an individual's specific care needs with care providers in their preferred geographic area. Click here to find affordable care.