Financial Assistance, Costs & Payment Options for Eldercare in Minnesota

Introduction:
This webpage will assist Minnesota residents in understanding the cost of senior care throughout the state. The costs associated with assisted living, home care assistance, and adult day care will be explored. Various payment options, financial assistance, and aid with elderly care, both in the home and in residential facilities, will also be covered.

While the programs listed here are inclusive of what the state of Minnesota has to offer, it is not inclusive of what is available at a national level. When looking for programs that offer assistance with senior care, it is important to consider all your options in order to find one that most ideal for your situation. To assist in your search for nationwide assistance, please use our free Resource Locator Tool.

 

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Minnesota Elder Care Costs

Assisted Living / Memory Care

As of 2018, the average monthly cost of assisted living in Minnesota is $3,270. This is approximately 12% lower than the nationwide average of $3,670 / month. Geographically, the most inexpensive areas of the state are Rochester, where the average monthly cost is $2,953, and St. Cloud, where the monthly average cost is $2,710. The most costly areas, which on average are more costly than the state average of $3,270, are Duluth ($3,870 / mo.) and Minneapolis-Saint Paul ($4,060 / mo.). For those who have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, a higher level of assisted living care is often required. This is referred to as Alzheimer’s care or memory care and costs an additional $870 to $1,070 per month due to the heightened level of security and care.

Home Care

Throughout the state of Minnesota in 2018, the average hourly rate of home care is $24.75 / hour. However, the areas of Duluth and St. Cloud offer more affordable home care at an average hourly rate between $22.25 and $22.75. The area of Rochester is on par with the statewide average hourly rate of $24.75. The most expensive home care is found in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Mankato areas, where the average hourly cost is between $25.75 and $26.75. Home health care is also available and is provided by healthcare professionals, averaging an additional $2.75 more an hour than home care.

Adult Day Care

When it comes to elderly care, adult day care is the most affordable option for seniors who are in need of assistance, but do not wish to live in a residential facility. As of 2018, residents of the state of Minnesota can expect to pay an average of $71 / day throughout the state for adult day care. However, the cost of care can range quite a bit based on the geographic area in which one resides in the state. The most affordable adult day care can be found in Duluth, where the average cost is $57 / day, and St. Cloud, where the average cost is $64. On the flipside, the most costly average rate for adult day care can be found in Minneapolis-Saint Paul ($83 / day), Mankato ($79 / day), and Rochester ($73 / day).

 

 

Minnesota Financial Assistance Programs

Medicaid Programs for the Elderly

Background
Medicaid is a joint health care program for low-income residents and is administered by the federal government and the state. Minnesota’s Medicaid program is called Medical Assistance (MA) and covers the cost of nursing home care and limited personal care. The state also offers Medicaid Waivers, which provides home and community based services for elderly and disabled individuals. The intention is to delay or prevent nursing home placement, which saves the state money and allows the individual to age in place.

Programs and Waivers
The Elderly Waiver (EW) offers a variety of supports for seniors who require a nursing home level of care, but wish to remain living in the community. These services may include adult day care, home modifications, personal care assistance, home delivered meals, assisted living, and adult foster care. Waiver participants may self-direct their care, including hiring certain family members, such as adult children, as caregivers.

The Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver provides services for disabled individuals under the age of 65. However, if an individual is enrolled in this program prior to age 65, he or she can remain on this waiver. Supports include nursing services, home and vehicle modifications, homemaker services, and personal assistance. This waiver also allows for consumer direction, and some family members may be hired to provide services.

The Minnesota Personal Care Assistant (PCA) program is not technically a distinct program from the others, but more of an option as to how seniors receive personal care services. With this option, eligible individuals self-direct their own care, hiring the personal caregiver of their choosing, including friends and select family members. To be eligible, one must be enrolled in the Minnesota Medicaid state plan, a state managed care program, such as Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO), the Elderly Waiver, or the Minnesota Alternative Care program.

Finally, Minnesota now offers two Managed Medicaid programs, Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) & Senior Care Plus (MSC+). Through these programs, both short-term and long-term care assistance is offered.  Learn more about these options here.

Eligibility

Medicaid in Minnesota has restrictive eligibility requirements based on an applicant’s ability to function, their income level, and financial resources. These eligibility restrictions may vary slightly based on whether one is applying for the Medicaid state plan or one of the waivers, but as a general rule of thumb, one can expect the following restrictions.

As of 2018, an applicant must not have income greater than $1,005 / month, or said another way, $12,060 / year. However, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, the limit will be $1,012 / month, or put differently, $12,140 / year. (This figure is equivalent to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.) The asset limit is set at $3,000 and excludes the applicant’s primary home of residence (if valued under $572,000), household furnishings, a single vehicle, and some personal effects.

However, if one is over the income and / or asset limit(s), this doesn’t mean he or she will automatically be disqualified for Medicaid eligibility. Minnesota allows individuals to “spend down,” meaning certain medical expenses may be deducted from an individual’s countable income. This is also called the medically needy pathway, and once the individual’s income is either at, or below the allowable income, the individual may be eligible for Medicaid to kick in for the remainder of the “spend down” period. If one is over the asset limit, there are also ways to effectively lower one’s countable assets. That said, it is very important that one does not give away assets or sell them under fair market value in an attempt to meet the asset limit. Doing so may violate Medicaid’s look-back period, a period of 60-months where all past asset transfers are reviewed. If one has gifted assets or sold them for less than they are worth during this timeframe, a period of Medicaid ineligibility may result. Medicaid eligibility can be complicated. Therefore, it is strongly advised if one is over the income and / or asset limit(s), to contact a Medicaid Planner for assistance with the application process.

 

State (Non-Medicaid) Assistance Programs

The state of Minnesota also offers additional programs to aid in elderly care outside of the current Medicaid programs. As of 2017, Minnesota has four such programs.

The Minnesota Consumer Support Grant (CSG) program supplies a cash grant to cover the cost of senior care services. This program also allows for consumer direction of personal care, even including the hiring of spouses. In addition to personal assistance, individuals may use the monthly cash grant towards home modifications and assistive technology, transportation assistance, home health care, meal planning and prep, and respite care.

The Alternative Care (AC) program assists seniors who are in need of nursing home care to remain living in their home or a caregiver’s home. This program allows for consumer direction, allowing individuals to hire the personal caregiver of their choosing, including relatives. Other supports include home delivered meals, home health aides, personal emergency response systems, and skilled nursing.

The Essential Community Supports (ECS) program provides financial assistance to aid elderly residents with the cost of in-home assistance and supports to live independently. Funds may go towards the following services: chore and homemaker, meal delivery, personal emergency response systems, and adult day care.

Minnesota’s Housing Support Program, previously referred to as the Group Residential Housing (GRH) Program provides elderly residents with financial assistance for room and board in adult foster care homes, assisted living facilities, and supervised senior living communities. In some instances, supplemental services, also referred to as a special allowance, for personal care assistance is available for some applicants.

 

Other Financial Options for Care

In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Minnesota, 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

Given the large variance Minnesota sees in the hourly cost of home care, the monthly cost of assisted living, and the daily cost of adult day care, finding the most affordable care is imperative. To assist seniors and their families in doing so, we’ve partnered with several organizations that maintain databases with a large number of care providers. This service provided is free of charge and takes into consideration an individual’s care needs, budget and the preferred geographic area of the individual. Click here to find affordable care.