Financial Assistance, Costs and Payment Options for Eldercare in Montana

Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2019

Introduction:
Making sense of the costs associated with senior care, such as assisted living, home care, and adult day care, can be difficult. This holds particularly true since costs may vary greatly across geographic regions within a state. This webpage will assist Montana residents in understanding these costs, as well as becoming familiar with specific programs that provide financial and senior care assistance.

The programs found below encompass all of the programs the state of Montana has to offer. That being said, there are also a number of senior care assistance programs available that are not funded by the state. These include privately funded, locally funded, and federally funded programs. When searching for programs that aid in elderly care, it is extremely important to consider all options. Our free Resource Locator Tool, which is simple and free to use, can assist you in this search.

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Montana Elder Care Costs

Assisted Living / Memory Care

As of 2019, the average cost of residing in an assisted living facility in Montana is $3,919 / month. Compared to the nationwide average cost of $4,000 / month, assisted living in Montana is slightly more affordable than many other locations within the United States. Even more reasonable monthly costs can be found in Montana in the city and surrounding area of Great Falls, where the average monthly cost is $3,350. The area of Billings has an average monthly cost just over the statewide average at $3,970. The metropolitan area of Missoula has the costliest monthly average for assisted living at $4,736.

Some assisted living facilities have Memory Care units, otherwise known as Alzheimer’s Care, that provide a higher degree of care and security for seniors with dementia. One should expect to pay an additional $783 - $1,175 / month for care in this type of unit.

Home Care

In Montana, in 2019, the average rate for in-home care (non-medical) is $24.00 statewide. Within the state, there is not much variance in the hourly rate. For those who reside in Billings, one will find the most affordable hourly rates with an average of $23.00. However, in Great Falls and Missoula, the average hourly rate is higher and is approximately $24.50 to $24.75 / hour.

In-home health care (medical care) is also available, and unlike in most states, the statewide average cost is consistent to that of non-medical in-home care.

Adult Day Care

The cost of adult day care in Montana fluctuates greatly depending on where in the state one resides. As of 2019, the average daily cost throughout the state is $114. In the Billings Metropolitan area,  the cost of adult day care is on the lower end with a flat rate of $84 / day, as is Great Falls, with an average daily rate of $72. On the other hand, Missoula has the most expensive daily rate for adult day care at $118. Unfortunately, in some of the more rural areas of Montana, adult day care might not be available.

Montana Financial Assistance Programs

Medicaid Programs for the Elderly

Via the Montana State Medicaid program, nursing home care and in-home personal care is covered for low-income seniors / disabled individuals. Via the Community First Choice (CFC) / Personal Assistance Programs (PAS), eligible applicants are able to receive assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating, homemaker services, and personal emergency response systems. One can elect to hire the personal caregiver of their choosing, which includes certain relatives. To learn more, click on the above link.

In addition to the state plan (which is an entitlement, meaning all eligible applicants are able to receive services), Montana also offers one Home and Community Based Services Waiver (which is not an entitlement). This waiver allows the elderly and disabled to receive assistive services in their home and / or in the community. This allows Montana residents to age in place, while also saving the state money since the cost of nursing home care is more costly than in-home and community based services and supports.

The Big Sky Home and Community Based Services Program, also known as the Elderly / Physically Disabled Waiver, is intended for seniors and disabled residents who are in need of a nursing home level of care. Services can be received in an individual’s home, an adult foster care home, or in an assisted living facility, and includes personal assistance, homemaker services, adult day health care, and home modifications. This waiver also allows for self-direction of care services, allowing waiver participants to hire the personal care attendant of their choice, including select family members. Click the above link for additional supports and eligibility requirements.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for Medicaid in the state of Montana, seniors must have income and assets that do not exceed a set amount. As of 2019, a single applicant is limited to an income that is equivalent to 100% of the Federal Benefit Rate (FRB), which is currently set at $771 / month ($9,252 / year). However, the state does allow “Medically Needy” individuals to still qualify for Medicaid after spending down their income on medical expenses. This is often referred to as a “spend down” program.

The asset limit for single elderly Montana residents is $2,000, but excludes one’s home, limited to an equity value of $585,000, a vehicle, and burial plot. If one is over the asset limit, it is critical that assets not be given away or sold very cheaply to meet Medicaid’s asset limit. Doing so violates Medicaid’s Look-Back Period and can result in Medicaid ineligibility for a period of time.

Income and asset limits vary based on one’s marital status and if one’s spouse is also applying for Medicaid. If one is married or over the asset and / or income limit(s), it is highly suggested one consult a Medicaid planner prior to applying for Medicaid. It is likely by doing so, families may still be able to gain Medicaid eligibility, as Medicaid planners are knowledgeable in restructuring finances in order to meet the financial limits.

State (Non-Medicaid) Assistance Programs

In addition to the Medicaid programs Montana offers, there is one non-Medicaid program available to Montana residents: The Big Sky Rx (BSRx) Program.  While this program doesn’t directly help to cover the cost of senior care, it does help to cover the cost of prescription drugs by providing financial assistance for Medicare Part D premiums. Therefore, it frees up money that could in turn be used towards paying for elderly care. Click on the above link to learn more about the BSRx program.  

Other Financial Options for Care

In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Montana, there are also federal and non-profit programs available. In order to find other programs that assist in paying for care or reduce your out-of-pocket cost, make sure to use our Resource Locator Tool.  This tool makes it easy to locate and consider all of your options and choose the program that best fits the circumstances. Eldercare loans and programs that aid veterans with assisted living are other available options.

Finding Affordable Care

One of the best ways to find the most affordable senior care in Montana is to check with multiple care providers. The cost of care, as well as the care available, may vary greatly by geographic location. In order to assist you with the task of finding a high quality (and affordable) provider that fits your care needs, as well as preferred geographic location, we have partnered with several other organizations that maintain large databases of providers. For free assistance in finding affordable care, please click here.

Top Cities for Senior Care in Montana

For more information about the costs and resources available in Montana cities, click on the links below.