Financial Assistance, Costs and Payment Options for Eldercare in Oklahoma

Page Reviewed / Updated - May 201

Introduction:
This webpage will assist Oklahoma residents in becoming familiar with the costs of elder care options throughout the state. This includes assisted living, home care, and adult day care. Payment options and programs to reduce the cost of long-term care in the home and in the community will also be covered.

The programs outlined on this page include all of the programs that are available from the state of Oklahoma. However, there are also national programs that provide assistance, but are not included on this webpage. An important part of seeking elder care is to consider all of your options in order to find the most appropriate program for the given needs and situation. To assist in your search for nationwide assistance, please use our Resource Locator Tool at no cost to you.

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Oklahoma Elder Care Costs
Assisted Living / Memory Care

In Oklahoma, as of 2019, the average monthly cost of assisted living throughout the state is $3,325. Compared to the national monthly average of $4,000, this rate is quite low. In the area of Enid, in the Northwestern part of the state, the monthly average, $2,860, is even lower than the Oklahoma statewide average. Lawton, in the Southwestern part of the state, is also lower than the statewide average with a monthly average cost of $3,238. The metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa have the highest average monthly rate for assisted living, which ranges from $3,339 - $3,488. Even so, this amount is still lower than the nationwide average. 

Individuals who need additional care and supervision due to Alzheimer’s are able to reside in assisted living memory care units. However, one should expect to pay an additional $665 - $997 per month.

Home Care

Statewide in Oklahoma, in 2019, the average hourly rate for home care is $20.00. This rate remains fairly consistent throughout the various geographic areas of the state. Oklahoma City and Lawton have hourly average rates between $18.00 and $19.00, which is below the statewide hourly average. On the other hand, the areas of Enid and Tulsa have hourly rates between $21.50 and $22.25, which is higher than the statewide average.

For seniors who need a higher level of care, home health care is also available and is provided by a health professional. Statewide, the hourly average for this type of care is approximately $1.75 more an hour.

Adult Day Care

In 2019, the most affordable type of elderly care in Oklahoma is adult day care, which has a statewide average cost of $60 / day. In the area of Lawton, the average daily cost is even more affordable at $45. Oklahoma City has adult day care costs on par with the statewide average at $60 / day, while the most expensive adult day care can be found in Tulsa with an average of $72 / day. 

Oklahoma Financial Assistance Programs
Medicaid Programs for the Elderly

Background
Medicaid (which should not to be confused with Medicare) is a jointly administered program by the federal government and the state of Oklahoma, providing health coverage to low-income elderly residents. In Oklahoma, Medicaid is called SoonerCare. For frail, elderly residents and disabled individuals, the Oklahoma state Medicaid plan will pay for nursing home care and some personal care. The state of Oklahoma also offers a Medicaid Waiver, commonly referred to as Home and Community Based Services Waiver. This waiver provides in-home and community based services for the elderly and disabled, preventing or delaying nursing home placement, and allowing the individual to age in place at home.

One important difference between the state Medicaid plan and the Medicaid waiver is that the state plan is an entitlement program. This means anyone who meets the eligibility requirements is able to receive services. However, Medicaid waivers are not entitlement programs. Rather, they have a certain allotted number of available participant slots. Once the slots have been filled, a waitlist will result.

Programs and Waivers
The Personal Care Program is part of the Medicaid state plan, which is an entitlement program, and provides financial assistance to elderly and disabled individuals to employ a personal caregiver. Assistance may also include shopping for essentials, meal preparation, and housecleaning. This program allows for self-direction, enabling eligible individuals to hire the caregiver of their choosing, including select non-immediate relatives.

The Advantage Program Wavier provides seniors with a variety of services and supports in their home or in an assisted living facility. Benefits may include meal delivery, disposable medical supplies, adult day care, home modifications, and personal care. Via this waiver, eligible applicants can self-direct their own personal care, even hiring some family members.

Eligibility
Medicaid has restrictive eligibility requirements based on functional ability, income, and financial resources. As of 2019, Oklahoma single applicants are allowed a monthly income of up to $2,313 (300% of the current Federal Benefit Rate). Married applicants, with both spouses applying for services, are able to retain up to $4,626 / month in income. Individual applicants are also permitted up to $2,000 in countable resources, while married couples, with both spouses applying, can keep up to $4,000. There are several asset exemptions, which include an individual’s primary residence, given the applicant is living in it and it is not valued over $585,000, household furnishings, personal effects, such as clothing and a wedding ring, and an automobile.

Please note that the income and asset limits for the Personal Care Program, part of the regular state Medicaid program, vary from what is listed above. As of 2019, a single applicant is limited to a monthly income of  $1,041 (100% of the Federal Poverty Level) and $2,000 in assets. When both spouses of a married couple are applying for benefits, the income limit is increased to $1,409 / month, and the asset limit is raised to $3,000.

Even if one exceeds the above income and asset limits, it is still possible to qualify for OK Medicaid. However, it is strongly recommended that one contact a Medicaid Planner prior to applying for Medicaid for assistance in restructuring finances for eligibility purposes. If not familiar with Medicaid’s rules, one may unknowingly disqualify himself or herself from Medicaid. For example, Medicaid has a look-back rule, which prevents gifting and transferring assets under fair market value for 5 years from the date of one’s Medicaid application. If one has given assets away or sold them very cheaply to meet the asset limit during this timeframe, they will be in violation of this rule, and in turn will have a period of Medicaid ineligibility.

State (Non-Medicaid) Assistance Programs

Oklahoma also offers two non-Medicaid assistance programs, which provide an alternative to assisted living or nursing home care.

The Adult Day Care Services program, also called the Adult Day Health Services program, helps to cover a portion of the fee for adult day care. In some cases, 100% of the fee is covered. While in adult day care, services may include personal care assistance, supervision, medication management, basic nursing services, recreational activities, and meals. 

Through In Home Assistance and Care Services for the Elderly, services are provided free of charge to low-income elderly Oklahoma residents through local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) offices. While services may vary based on the AAA office, supports often include personal care assistance, housecleaning, laundry, transportation, chore assistance, meal delivery, and in-home respite care.

Another option, not directly related to long-term care, but could free up some money that could be used towards the cost of senior care is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program assists with the costs of heating and cooling one’s home. Read more.

Other Financial Options for Care

In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Oklahoma, 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 manage the cost of elderly care is to find a high quality provider that offers services at an affordable rate. To assist families in this endeavor, a partnership has been formed between our organization and several others. This service is provided free of charge and matches an individual’s care needs with care providers in the geographic location in which one resides.  Click here to find affordable care.

Top Cities for Senior Care in Oklahoma

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