Page Reviewed / Updated - Jun. 2018
This webpage will assist Utah residents in becoming familiar with elder costs associated with assisted living, home care, and adult day care throughout the state. Payment options and financial assistance programs that aid in caring for seniors, both in the home and in the community, will also be explored.
The programs outlined on this page are inclusive of what is offered by the state of Utah, but is not inclusive of the programs available nationally. To aid in your search for nationwide assistance and to find the most appropriate program for your needs, budget, and situation, please make sure to use our Resource Locator Tool.
Cost of Care Calculator
In 2018, the average monthly cost of assisted living statewide in Utah is $3,020, which is approximately 80% of the national monthly average of $3,670. The cost of assisted living can be found at an even more affordable rate in the cities of Provo ($2,743 / month) and Logan ($2,865 / month). In St. George, the average cost is slightly over the statewide average at $3,039. In Ogden-Clearfield, the average monthly cost is $3,368, which is a bit more than the state average, but still under the national average. The most costly assisted living in the state can be found in Salt Lake City at $3,720 / month, yet is still barely over the national average.
Memory Care units in assisted living facilities are also available for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias who need additional assistance and supervision. One should expect to pay approximately $870 / month more for this type of care.
In Utah, as of 2018, the hourly average rate for home care is $21.75 throughout the state. The area of Logan offers the most affordable in-home care with an average rate of $18.75 /hour. The areas of St. George, Provo, and Ogden are all on par with the statewide average of $21.75 / hour. As with assisted living, the cost of home care in Salt Lake City is the most expensive in the state at an hourly average of $23.
In 2018, the average cost of adult day care in Utah, which is $92 / day, is well above the national average of $71 / day. However, a major exception is in Salt Lake City, where adult day care can be found as low as $50 / day. Ogden also has average adult day care rates lower than the statewide average at $75 / day. The most costly areas for adult day care are Logan ($99 / day) and St. George ($116 / day). Make note, adult day care is commonly billed in half-day increments.
Medicaid Programs & Waivers
Prior to learning about Medicaid based assistance, it is helpful to understand the premise of Medicaid and the terminology associated with it. Medicaid is a health care program for low-income residents and is jointly administered by the federal government and each of the states. While the federal government sets parameters for the program, each state is allowed to administer the program as they see fit within these parameters. In Utah, the state Medicaid plan covers the cost of care in nursing homes for seniors and disabled individuals, as well as some in-home personal care.
Through the Utah State Plan Medicaid Personal Care Services program, qualified individuals receive in-home care. Services may include assistance with bathing and grooming, mobility, toiletry, medication management, and preparation of meals. There is an option for self-direction of care, which means that eligible applicants are able to hire their own caregiver. This includes select relatives. As of 2018, up to 60 hours a month of assistance can be provided.
The state of Utah also offers Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, which are intended to assist those who are elderly or disabled in aging in place. Currently, the state of Utah offers two such waivers.
1) The Aging Waiver offers a variety of supports and services for seniors (65 years of age and older) to promote independent living. These might include adult day care, meal delivery, home and vehicle modifications, respite care, and personal attendant services. Consumer direction is allowed for personal care assistance. This means program participants are able to hire the caregiver of their choosing, including some family members, such as adult children.
2) The New Choices Waiver offers transitional services for seniors who are currently living in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, but wish to transition back into the community. Benefits provided via this waiver include assistive technology, adult day care, chore services, personal emergency response systems, and respite care.
In order to be eligible for Medicaid in Utah, there are income and asset restrictions. Keep in mind that eligibility requirements for HCBS Waivers may differ from the state Medicaid plan. However, as of 2018, in order to be eligible for the state plan, an individual’s income cannot exceed $1,012 / month, or in other words, $12,140 / year. (This amount equates to 100% of the current Federal Poverty Level, which increases annually). The limit for assets (resources) is set at $2,000, though certain items, such as an individual’s primary home (if valued under $572,000), household furnishings, an automobile, and personal effects, are considered exempt.
Being over the income and / or resource limit(s) does not mean one cannot become Medicaid eligible. For instance, Utah has a Medically Needy program, also called a Spenddown program. Basically, the spenddown amount (the amount over the income limit) can be thought of as a deductible. One pays their “excess” income on medical bills, and once they have spent their income down to the income limit, they become Medicaid eligible for the remainder of the spenddown period. For those over the asset limit, one option is to use excess assets to pay debt or make home / vehicle modifications. An irrevocable funeral trust can also be purchased.
The Medicaid application process can be complicated. If you have income / resources over the limits, are married with a healthy spouse (a spouse that is not applying for Medicaid), or if you and your spouse are both applying for Medicaid, it is advised that you seek professional assistance. Read more.
The State of Utah currently has one program that is independent of their Medicaid programs, offering care assistance for the elderly. The Alternatives Program provides a variety of in-home services, including personal care assistance, adult day care, homemaker and chore services, and respite care. Self-direction of some services, such as personal care, is available in certain areas of the state, and select family members can be hired.
A second program called Utah Caregiver Support Program, is actually a national program, renamed specifically for Utah. Read more.
In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Utah, 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 shown above in the average care cost section, the state of Utah has quite a variance in the cost of care depending on one's geographic location. To assist families in finding high quality care at an affordable rate, in their preferred geographic areas, we have partnered with several organizations that assist families in doing this at no charge. Click here to find the most affordable care that meets your family's needs.
For more information about the costs and resources available in Utah cities, click on the links below.