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Financial Assistance, Costs and Payment Options for Eldercare in Florida

Page Reviewed / Updated - October 02, 2020

This webpage is intended to help Florida residents understand the cost of assisted living, home care, and adult day care throughout the state, as well as the wide range in pricing. It also explores the payment options and financial assistance programs available at the state level 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 Florida, but not of what is available nationally. Search for assistance nationwide and the program that will most benefit you by using our Resource Locator Tool.

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Florida Elder Care Costs for 2020

Assisted Living

The average cost of assisted living in Florida in 2020, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, is $3,500 per month. However, the range of cost across the state varies greatly, with an average low of $2,836 / month and an average high of $5,375 / month. The most affordable areas of the state for assisted living are Miami, Tampa, Punta Gorda, and the Sebastian area. In these regions the monthly average cost ranges from $2,836 - $3,375. The areas of Gainesville, Lakeland, and Port St. Lucie have an average monthly cost fairly consistent with the state average. The average cost in these areas is between $3,463 and $3,500. The most expensive assisted living in Florida is found in and around Panama City, Deltona, The Villages in Sumter County, and Tallahassee. Here, the monthly costs range from $4,500 - $5,375.

Typically assisted living for Alzheimer's patients costs approximately 20% - 30% more. On average, Florida assisted living communities will charge an additional $709 - $1,343 / month for Alzheimer's / memory care, which offers a higher level of supervision and security.

Home Care

In Florida, per the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, as of 2020, the hourly rate for home care is, on average, $21.00 per hour. The most affordable home care is found in Miami, Ocala, and the Deltona area, where the average hourly rate is between $18.50 and $19.50. The areas of Pensacola, Lakeland, Port St. Lucie, and Palm Bay are also very affordable with average costs of $20.00 - $20.25 / hour. The areas of the state with the highest home care costs include Highlands County in the area of Sebring, Naples, Panama City, Punta Gorda, and the North Port area, where the cost is between $23.50 and $25.00 / hour.

Home health care is also available, and on average, costs $1.00 more per hour statewide than regular home care at $22.00. That said, there are some areas of the state where the average hourly cost is between $1.75 and $2.75 more than home care and these areas include Tampa, Lakeland, Sebastian, and Ocala.

Adult Day Care

In Florida, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, the average daily rate paid for adult day care in 2020 is $68. While this may seem pricey, adult day care is still, far and away, the most affordable type of senior care available. The lowest cost adult day care can be found in Orlando, Lakeland, Sebastian, Gainesville, and Tallahassee, where the daily rate is around $60 - $63. The highest priced adult day care is found in the areas around Jacksonville, North Port, Tampa, Punta Gorda, and Deltona, where the costs range from $79 - $102 per day.

Florida Financial Assistance Programs

Medicaid Programs & Waivers

Medicaid is health insurance for low-income and disabled individuals and seniors. Long-term care was originally provided as institutional care only (nursing home care. But now Medicaid offers services in the home and in the "community" with the design of reducing nursing home placements.

In 2014, Florida rolled out the Statewide Managed Medicaid Care Long Term Care program, which replaces all of the state's HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) Medicaid Waivers. Under SMMC-LTC, a broad range of care services and non-care support are provided to financially and medically eligible persons. Benefits include personal care assistance, home-delivered meals, respite care, home modifications, and many others. Some services, such as personal care assistance and attendant nursing care, can be participant directed. This means program participants are able to hire, train, and manage the caregiver of their choice, including relatives.

Financially, Florida Medicaid considers both the income and assets (resources) of applicants. For an individual applicant in 2020, monthly income cannot exceed $2,349, which is 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate. If married, and both spouses are applicants, their monthly income must be less than $4,698. Assets, which do not include a home (valued up to $595,000) or primary vehicle, must be valued at less than $2,000, or $3,000, for an individual and couple (both spouses applying), respectively. Note that if one spouse is entering a nursing home or receiving long-term home and community based services, the other spouse is allowed to hold assets greater than that amount. As of 2020, this figure can be as much as $128,640 and is called a community spouse resource allowance.

It is also important to note that persons with income and resources over these limits can still become eligible for Medicaid in Florida. Working with a Medicaid planning professional, monthly income greater than the limit can be allocated to income trusts. And some financial assets in excess of the limit can be converted into exempt assets. For individuals that are near the financial limits, it is strongly recommended they consult with a Medicaid planning professional before application to ensure the best possibility of acceptance into Medicaid.

Incorrectly reallocating income and / or assets can result in Medicaid ineligibility. For instance, in Florida, Medicaid has a 5-year Look Back Period. This is a period of time in which the Medicaid agency looks at all asset transfers immediately preceding Medicaid application to ensure assets were not given away or sold under fair market value. If an applicant has violated the look back rule it is assumed it was done to meet the asset limit, and he / she will be penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility.

A Historic Note on Florida Medicaid:  Prior to 2014, Florida offered home and community based services to the elderly through a collection of Medicaid waivers. It is helpful to be aware of these programs, if only to know they are no longer relevant options. Nearly all services offered under these waivers are now offered through the state's Medicaid managed care program. The waivers were: -Alzheimer’s Disease Waiver (ADW) -Nursing Home Diversion (NHD) Waiver -Aged and Disabled Adult Waiver -Assisted Living for the Elderly (ALE) -Consumer Directed Care Plus (CDC+) 

State Assistance Programs

Florida offers six programs for non-Medicaid eligible seniors that provide services, supports, and financial assistance for eldercare.

1) The Optional State Supplement (OSS) is a financial grant for low-income individuals who live in residential care, be that an adult family care home or an assisted living residence. This payment goes toward the fees of room and board. Read more about Florida's OSS eligibility and limits.

2) Project R.E.L.I.E.F., or Respite for Elders Living in Everyday Families, is a free respite care program. Respite care is provided in-home. Click here for Project R.E.L.I.E.F eligibility information.

3) Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) provides a variety of supports for Alzheimer's patients and their families and caregivers. Extended out-of-home respite, up to 30 days, is one such benefit. Read more about the ADI program.

4) Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) is designed for individuals at risk for nursing home placement, but not qualified for Medicaid. A variety of support is available, including adult day care, personal care, disposable medical supplies, and legal assistance. Learn about CCE eligibility and benefits.

5) Home Care for the Elderly (HCE) program is unique in that it is designed to support caregivers, rather than care recipients. It provides direct financial assistance that helps the caregiver provide basic supports for the care recipient, as well as medical equipment that is deemed necessary. Learn more about the HCE program qualifications and grant amounts.

6) The Local Services programs are a mix of services that vary depending on the area of the state. But it can include group meals, non-medical transportation, personal emergency response systems, and caregiver training. Learn more.

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. It is strongly recommended you use our Resource Locator Tool to find other programs that help pay for, or reduce the cost of care. This presents the best scenario to find the program that best meets your needs. There are also programs that help veterans with assisted living and there are eldercare loans available in Florida.

Finding Affordable Care

To help families find affordable care in Florida, we've partnered with several organizations that maintain databases of care providers. Through these partnerships we are able to provide free services that match an individual's specific care needs with affordable care providers in their preferred geographic area.  Click here to get started.

Top Cities for Senior Care in Florida

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