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Cost of Long-Term Care in Florida in 2024

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Are you or your loved one considering long-term care in Florida? This article discusses long-term care options, care costs, and several valuable resources for long-term care planning in Florida. 

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The U.S.'s aging population is accelerating as the baby boomer generation retires. Florida is no exception to this trend, with over 21% of the population above the age of 65 as of the 2020 U.S. census

It's no secret that Florida is a popular retirement destination. Out of the ten most populated states, Florida is number one in nursing staff rates. The state also requires more daily care per resident (3.6 hours per day) than the national average (2.5 hours per day). 

If you or your loved one are considering long-term care in Florida, then look no further. LTC News works hard to provide up-to-date educational resources about long-term care. We want to help you learn about your care options in Florida. 

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • The cost of long-term care in Florida.

  • Available options to pay for long-term care.

  • The different types of long-term care offered in Florida.

  • Valuable resources on long-term care in Florida.

Finding Long-Term Care in Florida  

Florida has over 3,000 assisted living facilities and almost 700 nursing homes. The state serves hundreds of thousands of people each year, helping individuals get the high-quality care they need.

But how exactly can you get long-term care in the state of Florida? In Florida, there are three main ways people get care:

  • Paying for it outright

  • Long-Term Care Insurance

  • Medicaid

Many Floridians rely on personal funds and unpaid family caregivers to cover their long-term care needs. However, informal caregiving and funding through savings isn't a viable long-term solution. Many people drain their assets and end up receiving Medicaid long-term care benefits.

According to The Florida Health Care Association, Medicaid pays for approximately 60% of all long-term care spending in the state. Individuals must meet certain income and asset requirements to qualify for the program, which we'll cover later in this article. 

The Florida Health Care Association also says 7% of Floridians own Long-Term Care Insurance. LTC Insurance covers all types of long-term care and eliminates the need to rely on Medicaid, family caregivers, or personal funds. 

For existing Long-Term Care Insurance policies, individuals must prove they need help with two or more activities of daily living or have a need for supervision due to cognitive decline to start receiving long-term care. 

Activities of daily living are:

  • Eating: The ability to drink, eat, or ingest food without help. It may also include the ability to maintain proper nutritional needs. 

  • Bathing: The ability to maintain personal hygiene, including bathing, showering, brushing one's teeth, or other routine maintenance. 

  • Dressing: The ability to change in and out of clothes by oneself without major struggles. This can also include putting on assistive equipment like braces or artificial limbs. 

  • Transferring: The ability to move from a sitting or laying position to a standing position and vice versa. 

  • Continence: The ability to control bladder and bowel functions or to maintain personal hygiene devices like a catheter or colostomy bag if incontinence is present. 

  • Toileting: The ability to use the toilet and perform hygiene after. 

Types of Long-Term Care Services and Facilities

Today, long-term care comes in many settings, not just nursing homes. The right type of care for you or your loved one depends on your care needs, preferences, and budget. 

Most people receive long-term care outside of nursing homes. In fact, solutions like in-home care or assisted living facilities are more popular today than ever before. Below, we'll briefly cover your options for care, both in and out of facilities.  

Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs)

Adult day care centers (ADCCs) are non-residential facilities that support seniors and disabled individuals during the day. These centers offer the community vibe of a senior center with staff available to help with activities of daily living. 

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are residential communities for those who do not need a nursing home level of care but need help with activities of daily living (ADLs). Staff are available to help 24/7, but residents have the space to live as independently as they wish. 

Most assisted living facilities resemble apartment complexes or condos. These facilities are required to provide daily meal services, and many also have onsite access to skilled care services, such as medication management. 

RELATED: Assisted Living Facilities vs. Nursing Homes: What’s The Difference?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CRCCs)

Continuing care retirement communities (CRCCs) blend many levels of long-term care together into one community. The goal is for individuals to move freely within the community based on their level of independence or need for skilled care. 

Home Health Aides

Home health aides are health professionals offering in-home care, including help with activities of daily living like eating, bathing, or transferring. 

Homemaker Services

Homemaker services offer in-home care and help with household activities and chores, not including activities of daily living. This could include household tasks like organizing the house, preparing meals, or doing the dishes. 

Independent Living Facilities

An independent living facility is a type of housing located near long-term care services or senior communities. Individuals who live in independent living arrangements may not need regular help with activities of daily living but instead wish to live near other seniors for meals or social events. 

Memory Care Units and Facilities

Memory care units focus on helping those with dementia, Alzheimer's, or other types of cognitive decline. These units are often connected to assisted living facilities or nursing homes; however, some may be standalone facilities. 

Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities represent the highest level of skilled care and long-term care services. These are residential facilities for individuals who cannot live on their own and need round-the-clock care or supervision. 

Nursing homes are generally a long-term option, and skilled nursing facilities tend to be more rehabilitative in nature, offering shorter stays. 

Rehabilitation Facilities

Rehabilitation facilities predominantly focus on rehabilitating individuals and helping them transition from more intense care like hospital stays to less involved care. 

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Funding Long-Term Care in Florida 

There are several ways to cover the cost of long-term care in Florida. Below, we’ll discuss how each method works and why you may want to choose one over another. 

RELATED: How To Pay For Long-Term Care

Paying For Long-Term Care Out-of-Pocket

When we see the sticker price for long-term care, we may initially imagine those dreaded amounts coming out of our savings accounts or driving us into debt. This isn’t an ideal or even viable solution for the majority of us.  

Although some may argue that occasional low levels of care won't have a huge impact on finances, our health is unpredictable, and accidents happen, especially in old age. Care costs can easily snowball into an unmanageable amount. 

Luckily, there are several ways to cover care costs in Florida besides paying directly out-of-pocket. 

Medicaid Can Cover Costs If You’re Eligible

Medicaid is a federal care program that helps low-income individuals pay for the cost of long-term care. While you shouldn't look towards Medicaid as your first option to pay for long-term care, it can help in dire situations.  

To qualify for Medicaid, individuals must meet specific asset and income requirements. These requirements vary depending on your marital status and which Medicaid program you’re applying for. 

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-Term Care Insurance is one of the best methods to pay for long-term care. It's designed to cover all types of long-term care services and facilities

There are several consumer protections in place with Long-Term Care Insurance to make sure you or your loved one can get the care you need as soon as you need it. 

However, Long-Term Care Insurance isn't for everyone. While it's affordable compared to paying out of pocket, there are health eligibility requirements you must meet in order to start a policy. 

Generally, you have to be in good health and be within a certain age range. Otherwise, you may be unable to qualify for a new policy.  

Once you have a policy, all you need is to prove you need help with two or more activities of daily living or supervision due to cognitive decline. Then, you'll start receiving benefits. 

RELATED: Long-Term Care Insurance Cost: Factors, Considerations and Price Ranges

Short-Term Care Insurance

Sometimes, Long-Term Care Insurance isn't a viable option, especially for those trying to qualify with poor health. That's where short-term care insurance can come in handy. 

Short-term care insurance covers similar care services and facilities as LTC Insurance; however, as the same would suggest, it covers these for shorter periods of time, usually one or two years. These policies have more lenient health requirements, making them easier to qualify for than LTC Insurance policies. 

Most short-term care policies are cash indemnity instead of using traditional benefit systems. Short-term care policies are not currently available for purchase in Florida. However, since many people move to Florida from out of state, they’re able to use their pre-existing plans for care services. 

Florida Long-Term Care & Financial Programs 

In general, Florida offers great programs for those moving to the state and those who already live there. Here are a few Florida programs and policies you should be aware of as you research long-term care options. 

Federal Partnership Program

Florida offers federally qualified partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policies. A partnership policy protects policyholders from Medicaid spend downs and estate recovery if they ever use all the benefits in their policy. 

Since Florida participates in the national partnership program, it also offers reciprocity for most other participating states. This means most people with partnership policies who move from another state to Florida can keep their partnership coverage and vice versa.

Florida Medicaid Program

Florida has a separate program specifically for individuals in need of long-term care called the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-term Care Program

This is not an entitlement program; however, it is available to anyone 18 or older with a demonstrated need for long-term care. This program is not the typical type of Medicaid and does not cover doctor visits or hospital stays. 

However, this program covers a wide variety of long-term care services and facilities, including in-home care, assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care, and more. 

Eligibility for the program is determined by the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA), but the process generally starts with a screening by contacting your local resource center

Florida Medicaid Estate Recovery Program

Medicaid estate recovery is when the government reclaims an individual's home or estate to repay itself for the cost of long-term care. 

In Florida, the lookback period, or time frame that Medicaid considers, is 60 months or five years before the date of the Medicaid application.

Houses or properties owned by the individual or their spouse may be considered if the value is above $688,000. Estate recovery does not happen until the individual or their spouse has passed away, whichever happens last. 

The benefit of partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policies is they protect individuals from Medicaid estate recovery. If an individual with a partnership policy uses all their benefits and has to rely on Medicaid to cover remaining expenses, their estate will be protected from estate recovery. 

RELATED: Medicaid and IRAs: Can a Nursing Home Take Your Money and Assets?

Florida’s Long-Term Care Tax Resources and Protections

Here are some other details about long-term care in Florida that you may want to know about. 

  • LTC tax – Many states have considered an LTC tax on those who do not have Long-Term Care Insurance. Florida does not have an LTC tax.

  • Tax deductions – Florida Long-Term Care Insurance policies are eligible for federal tax deductions. 

  • Rate Stability Rules – All Long-Term Care Insurance policies in Florida are protected by rate stability rules, which help regulate premiums. 

  • Reverse mortgages – Florida allows reverse mortgages, which are home equity loans that can be used to help cover the cost of long-term care. These loans are usually for those 62 and older, although Florida may have more specific requirements to meet as well. 

How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost in Florida?

While the cost of care in Florida may not be as high as in some states, it isn't the most affordable state either. Generally, Florida's care costs for nursing homes are more than the national median, while other types of care are lower than the national median.  

Does Where You Live Matter? 

Where you live can significantly impact how much you'll pay for long-term care. Different states, cities, and regions of the U.S. have different costs of care due to several factors, including wages, local laws, how difficult it is to serve a region, how populated that region is, or the demand for care in that area. 

Costs can even vary depending on which specific facility you choose. Below, we’ll demonstrate the differences with median prices from LTC News’s Cost of Care Calculator

You can also use this calculator to compare current and future costs in your state to nationwide medians. Remember, your or your loved one's individual cost may vary from the one below. 

Adult Day Care Cost

Florida Median: $18,847 annually, $1,584 monthly. 

Assisted Living Facility Cost

Florida Median: $48,746 annually, $4,097 monthly. 

Home Health Aide Cost

Florida Median: $55,267 annually, $4,645 monthly. 

Homemaker Services Cost

Florida Median: $52,836 annually, $4,440 monthly.

Semi-Private Room (Nursing Home) Cost

Florida Median: $105,195 annually, $8,840 monthly.

Private Room (Nursing Home) Cost

Florida Median: $118,670 annually, $9,972 monthly. 

It’s estimated that individuals receiving care from a memory care unit attached to a nursing home or assisted living facility may pay anywhere from $709 to $1,343 extra per month for specialized memory care

Exploring Florida Long-Term Care 

Exploring long-term care options is an essential part of the aging and long-term journey. Learning about your state's specific programs and care costs can help you or your loved one make important decisions. 

While prices may seem high on paper, remember there are several ways to cover care costs. One of the best ways to do so is with Long-Term Care Insurance. You can speak with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you figure out the best option for you or your loved one. 

Remember, LTC Insurance is medically underwritten and priced, meaning you’ll need good health to qualify. The best time to get coverage is in your 40s or 50s, but those in good health can find affordable options into their 60s and beyond. 

If you’re ready to start looking for care in Florida, consider using LTC News’s Care Directory. You can use this tool to compare different care services and facilities in your area. 

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If you'd still like more information on long-term care in Florida, you can follow one of the links below. 

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