Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2019
Understanding the costs associated with senior care and finding programs that offer care and / or financial assistance can be complicated. To assist Rhode Island residents in better understanding these matters, this webpage will cover the average costs of assisted living, home care, and adult day care throughout the state. Programs that provide assistance, both in the home and in the community, will also be covered.
The programs found on this page include everything that the state of Rhode Island has to offer as far as senior care assistance. However, there are additional programs that are available on a national level, as well as others that are available locally and privately. To assist in one’s search for the program that is most suitable for the situation, please use our free Resource Locator Tool.
Cost of Care Calculator
In Rhode Island, in 2019, the statewide average cost of assisted living is $4,350 / month, which is more expensive than the nationwide average of $4,000 / month. The capital city area, Providence, has an average monthly cost of $4,900, which equates to an annual rate of $58,800, and is costlier than the statewide average.
Statewide, the average cost of home care in 2019 is $25.50 hour, and as with the cost of assisted living, is higher than the nationwide average of $21 / hour. In Providence, the average hourly cost is on part with the statewide average at $25.50.
Home health care, which is care provided by health care professionals, is on average $1.50 / hour more than non-medical home care.
The most affordable care option in Rhode Island for seniors who wish to remain living at home, but require some daytime supervision is adult day care. As of 2019, the average cost is $75 throughout the state. (This figure is just over the nationwide average of $72 / day). The cost of adult day care in Providence is consistent with the statewide average of $75 / day.
Medicaid is a health care program for low-income residents of the U.S. and is jointly funded by each state and the federal government. Each state manages their own Medicaid program, which is run within guidelines set by the federal government. While all states offer programs for children and families, here we will only focus on the programs that relate to the elderly.
Each state has a state Medicaid plan, which will cover the cost of nursing home care for seniors and disabled individuals, as well as limited in-home care. Most states also offer Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, which provide in-home care, community supports, and a variety of services, to prevent the unnecessary placement of those who are elderly or disabled in nursing homes. However, Rhode Island is unique in that its state plan and Medicaid Waivers are merged under what is called the Rhode Island Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver (also called the Rhode Island Comprehensive Demonstration). A large number of benefits and services are available under this global waiver, including personal care, homemaker services, meal delivery, home modifications, adult day care, respite care, and skilled nursing. This waiver allows for self-direction, meaning eligible Rhode Island residents can choose the caregiver of their choice, including adult children.
Three former HCBS Waivers that offered senior care assistance were merged under this global waiver. These include the Personal Choice Program, the Shared Living Program (Rite @ Home), and the Home and Community Care Medicaid Waiver.
In Rhode Island, elderly residents must meet functional criteria and set income and asset guidelines in order to be eligible for Medicaid. As of 2019, seniors must not have a monthly income greater than $2,313 / month, or put another way, $27,756 / year (300% of the Federal Benefit Rate). If one is over the income limit, yet have medical bills that are high relative to their income, they are able to qualify for Medicaid via the medically needy pathway. This is a “spend down” program in which one uses their income in excess of the income limit to pay medical expenses. This can be thought of as a deductible, and once one has “spent down” their income to the allowable amount, they will be eligible for Medicaid for the remainder of the “spend down” period.
Liquid assets (bank accounts, government bonds, cash, etc.) must not exceed $4,000. One’s home, given the individual lives in it and it is valued under $585,000 is also considered an exempt asset. As with income, if one is over the asset restrictions, this does not automatically call for disqualification of Medicaid. However, one should proceed with caution, as simply giving away resources or taking very little money in exchange for them to meet the asset limit can result in a period of Medicaid ineligibility. This is because doing so is in violation of Medicaid’s look-back rule, a period of 60-months from which Medicaid looks back at all asset transfers from the date of application.
If one is over the income and / or asset limit(s), it is strongly recommended that one consult a Medicaid Planning Professional for assistance, as applying for Medicaid is complicated. Learn more.
The state of Rhode Island also offers five non-Medicaid programs that are relevant to senior care that provide care and / or financial assistance.
1) The SSI Enhanced Assisted Living program provides financial assistance to elderly individuals who are eligible for SSI, which aids with the costs associated with assisted living. Eligible applicants may receive up to $1,568 / month in assistance. Services provided in assisted living may include personal care assistance, group meals, and social activities.
2) The Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Elderly (RIPAE) program provides financial assistance with the cost of prescription drugs. Discounts may range from 15% to 60%.
3) The Paid Family Leave / Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program allows Rhode Island residents to take up to 4 weeks off of work in a given year to provide care for a seriously ill relative. Compensation may be as high as $817 / week.
4) The Home and Community Care Co-Pay program provides seniors with supports and services to assist them in aging in place at home. Home health care, adult day care, home modifications, personal care assistance, personal emergency response systems, and care in assisted living are all supports offered. With services via this program, there is a co-payment.
5) The CareBreaks Respite Services program provides in-home and out-of-home respite care services to relieve primary caregivers of seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Rhode Island, 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.
As one can see, the cost of senior care varies greatly across the state of Rhode Island. Given this, it’s important that one check with a number of care providers to find the most affordable care. Our organization has partnered with several other organizations that are able to match care needs with affordable, high quality providers in the geographic location in which one desires. Click here to find affordable senior care.