Page Reviewed / Updated - November 16, 2020
Understanding the costs associated with senior care in Maine can be complicated. This is especially true given the fact that within the state, care costs can vary greatly across geographic regions. This webpage is intended to assist Maine residents in understanding these costs by exploring the costs associated with assisted living, home and home health care, and adult day care. Financial and care assistance programs that aid in the cost of elderly care, both in the home and in the community, will also be covered.
The programs compiled on this page are inclusive of what the state of Maine has to offer in assistance with the cost of senior care. However, there are other programs that are available via other funding sources (non-profit, private, and national) that are not listed on this page. In order to choose the program that is most ideal for your given situation, it’s important to consider each and every option. To assist in this search, our free Resource Locator Tool is available and is easy to use.
Cost of Care Calculator
According to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, in comparison to the 2020 nationwide monthly average cost of assisted living, which is $4,051, the monthly average cost in Maine is quite high at $5,169. While this amount is approximately 25% greater than the nationwide average, there are some areas of the state where the cost of assisted living is even greater. For instance, the areas of Lewiston-Auburn and Portland have a monthly average cost between $5,385 and $6,600. That being said, more affordable assisted living can be found in Bangor, which has a monthly average cost of $4,753.
Seniors who need an additional level of care and support due to Alzheimer’s or a related dementia can live in a Memory Care unit (often referred to as Alzheimer’s care). For this type of care, expect to pay an additional 20% - 30% per month more than for traditional assisted living. Or, stated differently, approximately $1,188 - $1,650 / month more.
In Maine, per the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, as of 2020, the average hourly rate for in-home care (non-medical) is $26.84 throughout the state. The most expensive geographic area for home care is in Portland, with an average of $28.00 / hour. In Lewiston-Auburn and in Bangor, the average hourly rate is just over the statewide average at $27.00 - $27.38 / hour.
In-home health care (medical) is also available and is on average the same hourly cost as is non-medical home care.
On average, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, adult day care runs Maine residents $116 / day in 2020. Though the cost can vary greatly based on the geographic region in which one resides. In the Portland area, one will find some of the costliest adult day care in the state with an average of $114 / day, just under the statewide average. In contrast, one will find the most affordable adult day care in Bangor, where the daily average is only $34 / day.
Medicaid is a state and federal funded program that covers the cost of medical expenses for those who cannot afford it. The program serves a variety of ages, including the elderly. In Maine, the state Medicaid program is called MaineCare and will cover the cost of living in a nursing home (as in all states). However, Maine also offers Medicaid programs that provide assistance to the elderly outside of nursing homes.
The MaineCare Consumer Directed Attendant Services (CDAS) program is available through the state Medicaid program, and is an entitlement. This means anyone who is eligible to receive services is able to do so. Via CDAS, eligible applicants are able to hire the personal care provider of their choosing to provide in-home care. Select relatives, such as an adult child of an eligible applicant, can be hired to provide services. For more information, click here.
Currently, the state of Maine also offers one Medicaid Waiver that is relevant to the elderly. However, unlike CDAS, the Elderly and Adults with Disabilities Waiver, sometimes also called the Home and Community Benefits for the Elderly or the Older Adults Waiver, is not an entitlement program. This means a waitlist for services may exist. The Elderly and Adults with Disabilities Waiver is for residents who need a nursing home level of care. Supports and services include personal care assistance, home delivered meals, home modifications, home health services, and non-emergency transportation. Via this waiver, there is an option for consumer direction of care services. This means an individual can choose the care provider of their choice, including certain family members. Click here to learn more.
MaineCare eligibility requirements for seniors include both income and asset restrictions. While the requirements may vary between the state Medicaid plan and the Medicaid Waiver, as a general rule of thumb, restrictions are as follows for 2020. For state plan services, an elderly individual may not have an income greater than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is currently set at $1,063 / month or $12,760 / year. The asset limit is set at $10,000 in liquid assets, which refers to assets that are easily converted to cash. However, there are exemptions to this rule and include one’s home (limited to an equity interest of $893,000), household items, personal effects, and burial plot. For the Medicaid waiver, the income limit is $2,349 / month or $28,188 / year. The asset limit is the same as with the state plan at $10,000. Income and asset restrictions are different for married couples where only one spouse is applying. If one is in this situation or has income and / or assets over the qualified amounts, contact a professional Medicaid planner for assistance.
A word of caution: While it may be tempting to give assets over Medicaid’s asset limit to friends or family to meet the limit, applicants should refrain from doing so. Gifting assets within 5 years before one’s Medicaid application can result in a period of Medicaid ineligibility. This is called the Medicaid look-back rule.
The state of Maine also offers non-Medicaid care and financial assistance programs for seniors to delay / prevent nursing home placement and to assist them in aging in place. Currently, Maine offers four such programs.
1) The Consumer-Directed Home-Based Care (CDHBC) program, which one may also recognize as the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Services program, provides in-home personal care services. Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), adult day care, and home modifications are also covered. Click here for eligibility requirements.
2) The Home Accessibility and Repair program and Elderly Hardship Grant through the Maine State Housing Authority provides financial assistance to aid low-income seniors in maintaining safe and livable homes. This includes making home modifications, such as adding wheelchair ramps and widening passageways, to allow elderly individuals to remain living in their homes. Learn more here.
3) The state of Maine offers two prescription drug assistance programs. The Maine RX Plus program and the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled (DEL) program. For more information, click here.
4) The Caregiver Respite program is intended for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, including Parkinson’s disease. Respite care (short-term care to allow full time caregivers a break from caregiving duties) can be in-home or out-of-home. An added benefit of this program is that family members can be paid to be the respite caregiver. To learn about eligibility, click here.
In addition to the state specific programs that assist in covering the cost of elderly care in Maine, 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, which is available at no cost to you, makes it easy to locate and consider all of your options. Therefore, making it possible to choose the program that best fits the circumstances. Eldercare loans and programs that aid veterans with assisted living are other available options.
With the high cost of senior care and variance in cost in Maine, it is extremely important to find a caregiver that offers the most affordable, high quality care. To assist in this endeavor, our organization has teamed up with other organizations that can assist with your search at no charge. This makes matching care needs with budget in one’s desired geographic location easy. Click here to find affordable care.
For more information about the costs and resources available in Maine cities, click on the links below.