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More than 71,000 Floridians are living in nursing homes across the Sunshine State. As the state's senior population continues to grow, many more families are thinking about the cost of their loved one's care. Nationwide, the median monthly cost of nursing home care is more than $7,000 per month. But how does Florida measure up? How much does a nursing home cost in our state?
First, it's important to understand whether Medicare or Medicaid will cover your care costs.
Will Medicare or Medicaid Pay for Nursing Home Costs?
Many people neglect to plan for nursing home costs because they assume that Medicare or Medicaid will cover the cost of their care. However, that may not necessarily be the case.
It's important to understand Medicare's and Medicaid's role in paying for nursing home care.
Depending on the length of your stay, Medicare may pay all or most of your nursing home costs.
Medicare will cover:
- The first 20 days in full
- 80% of the cost for the 80 days following
Medicare will only pay for 100 days of nursing home care. After this point, you and your family will have to cover the cost of care in full.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, Medicaid will cover 100% of your nursing home costs. But meeting the eligibility requirements can be a serious challenge for many people.
At the time of writing (2021), in order to qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid in Florida, you will need to have:
- Limited income – No more than $2,382/month for single individuals and married couples when one spouse is applying; $4,764 if both spouses are applying.
- Very few assets – No more than $2,000 for single individuals and married couples when one spouse is applying; $3,000 if both spouses are applying.
Assets include stocks, bonds, cash, investments, savings and checking accounts, credit union accounts, and real estate (excluding a primary residence). Medicaid considers income from all sources, including pension payments, alimony, Social Security Income, Social Security Disability Income, etc.
It's important to note that Medicaid will only pay for a shared room.
There are ways for Floridians to meet the state's Medicaid eligibility requirements. Careful and proper Medicaid planning can help you qualify for care.
How Much Does a Nursing Home Cost in Florida?
Now that you know what Medicare and Medicaid will and will not cover, it's important to understand the costs of nursing home care in Florida so that you know what you're up against.
Basic Nursing Home Costs
Costs can vary greatly depending on where you are located in Florida. According to data from the American Council on Aging, the average cost of nursing home care in Florida, per year, is:
- $117,895 for a private room; $104,025 for a shared room
Some areas of Florida are more expensive than others. Areas with the highest nursing home costs include:
- Naples: $140,525 for a private room; $124,830 for shared
- Tallahassee: $138,700 for private rooms; $90,520 for shared
- Tampa: $136,875 for private rooms; $119,355 for shared
- North Port: $125,560 for private rooms; $110,230 for shared
The most affordable nursing homes are in the following areas:
- Sebring: $101,470 for a private room; $89,425 for shared
- Ocala: $107,675 for a private room; $98,185 for shared
- Panama City: $100,375 for a private room; $98,550 for shared
- Lakeland: $108,405 for a private room; $103,660 for shared
Families can expect to spend $300+ per day or more than $8,000 per month on nursing home care in Florida for a private or semi-private room.
These are just the costs of care right now (June 2021). Keep in mind that nursing home costs increase every year. In Florida, prices increase 10-11% annually (on average).
Is Nursing Home Care Tax Deductible?
Generally, the costs of nursing home care are tax-deductible and considered an itemized medical expense. A tax professional can provide more insight into your unique tax situation.
In addition to basic care, there are some other costs that you have to consider when moving yourself or a loved one into a nursing home, such as:
- Moving: Nursing homes provide all of the basic necessities, but many individuals still want to bring family heirlooms or a few décor items to make their room feel more like home. Clothing, personal care items, and other daily use items may need to be packed up as well. Consider the cost of moving these items.
- Removal: If a loved one is single and transitioning to a nursing home, their belongings and home may be sold. Consider the costs associated with sorting, removing (donating, selling, or junk removal), and selling the property.
Does the nursing home cover all the resident's needs? Some services or items may come at an additional cost, such as:
- Cable TV
- Telephone service
- Bedding and towels
- Laundry services
- Internet service
- Personal care products
- Televisions and clocks
The cost of nursing home care goes beyond the basic costs listed above. It's important to plan ahead for all associated costs and to ask as many questions as possible when choosing a nursing home facility to find out what's covered and what isn't.