Nursing Homes in Alabama
The state of Alabama is home to more than 5 million people, and 17.6% of those residents are aged 65 or over. Nursing homes provide care to the state's older residents who require skilled nursing services and around-the-clock supervision. There are 226 nursing homes in Alabama, catering to 19,906 residents. These homes offer room and board, 24-hour care and help with the activities of daily living, along with social activities to help residents stay active and make connections among their peers.
This guide looks at the cost of nursing home care in Alabama and the options seniors and their families have for covering the cost of that care. It includes how Medicare and Medicaid can be used to pay for many components of nursing home care and also lists some useful resources for seniors who need assistance with the application process. Finally, it explains some of the regulations that nursing homes are required to abide by.
Cost of Alabama Nursing Homes
The average cost of nursing homes in Alabama is $191 per day. This is higher than the national average which is $228 per day.
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Nursing Home Care in Alabama?
Medicaid can be used to pay for nursing home care for certain eligible individuals via the Medicaid for Institutional Care program. Currently, more than 1.1 million Alabama residents are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Those seniors may apply for Institutional Medicaid or opt for one of the Home and Community-Based Care Waivers if they would prefer to receive care in a community setting.
Medicaid can cover the cost of room and board, along with skilled medical care. It cannot be used to cover the cost of nonessential items such as snacks or cosmetics purchased while staying at the facility. Seniors are permitted to retain a small amount of their income each month for personal care spending while in receipt of Medicaid.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Alabama
Seniors must meet certain income and asset limitations in order to qualify for Medicaid in Alabama. The asset limits are $2,000 for a single applicant or $3,000 for a couple. The income limits are $32,904 for a single person or $65,808 for a couple.
In addition to the financial eligibility criteria, seniors must also meet medical and residency requirements. These include:
- U.S. citizenship
- Resident of Alabama
- Must have been medically assessed as requiring a nursing home level of care (for Institutional Medicaid)
Applying for Medicaid in Alabama
Seniors can apply for Medicaid by visiting the Alabama Medicaid website. Help with the application process is available via telephone at (800) 362-1504. Seniors can also download a paper application and email the completed form to email@example.com or submit a paper copy of the form by mail to:
P.O. Box 5624
Montgomery, AL 36103-5624
Applications are also accepted in person at local district offices.
What Information You Will Need
Applicants are advised to have proof of residency and income on hand when completing the application. This may include:
- Bank statements
- Social Security income statements
- Proof of ID (e.g., passport or birth certificate)
- Copies of property deeds and titles
- Evidence of income from investments
Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Alabama
Seniors who require help with the Medicaid application process can contact the following organizations for advice and support.
|Social Security Administration Offices
|See list for local number
|The Social Security Administration offices can provide advice about social security benefits. They also perform disability assessments. Individuals looking to apply to Medicaid through the disability route should contact their local SSA office.
|Area Agencies on Aging
|See list for local number
|There are 13 Area Agencies on Aging in Alabama. These agencies run a variety of programs in their service areas, including benefits advice. They also oversee the long-term care ombudsman for their area.
|The Benefits.gov website provides information about Medicaid and other benefits as well as eligibility calculator tools. It also offers contact details and links to application forms.
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Nursing Home Care in Alabama?
Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it's most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery.
Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.
What Does Medicare Cover?
Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:
- A semiprivate room
- Skilled nursing
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Audiologist care
- Medical supplies
- Medical social services
- Nutritional counseling
- Ambulance transportation
What Isn't Covered by Medicare?
Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors' day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.
For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.
Medicare Support and Resources in Alabama
Medicare plans are complex, and the eligibility criteria and enrollment periods can be difficult for some people to navigate. Seniors who are unsure what services are covered by Medicare and what support they're eligible for can contact the following organizations for advice. These organizations can help seniors and their loved ones ensure they're receiving all the help they're entitled to through Alabama's Medicare program.
|State Health Insurance Assistance Program
|The State Health Insurance Assistance Program helps seniors choose the correct Medicare options for their needs. The program is staffed by volunteers who aren't affiliated with any specific provider, ensuring seniors receive impartial advice.
|Alabama Senior Medicare Patrol
|The Senior Medicare Patrol is a volunteer program that helps seniors better understand the Medicare system. It can assist with concerns of fraud or Medicare abuse from health care providers and telemarketers. Volunteers can also explain Medicare statements to callers.
|Medicare.gov provides information about the different Medicare coverage choices and what's covered by each one. It also explains the drug plans, enrollment periods and other things seniors should be aware of when considering coverage.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Alabama
While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.
|How to Apply
|How It Works
|Aid and Attendance
|Learn more and apply online at va.gov.
|Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.
|Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov.
|If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
|Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance
|Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.
|Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.
Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Alabama
|The Alabama Board of Health licenses nursing homes in the state. Facilities are required to apply for a license and must pass an assessment covering a variety of areas, including quality of care, health and safety, and infection control.
|Nursing facilities in Alabama must have an administrator who oversees the operations of the facility and are required to have a qualified dietitian on staff. The facility must keep accurate staffing records and have requirements in place for vaccination and infection control.
|Staff Training Requirements
|Nurse aides are required to have at least 12 hours of work-based training each year. Feeding assistants must receive training in feeding techniques and safety. All new employees must be given an orientation and briefed on the facility's policies.
|Facilities aren't permitted to ask new residents to waive their right to Medicaid or Medicare or to refuse to accept residents on the basis of their application for Medicaid or Medicare.
|Care Planning Requirements
|New residents must be assessed and provided with a care plan within 7 days of arriving at a facility. A care team must prepare the plan, and it must cover the resident's psychosocial and physical needs and be reassessed regularly.
|Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
|Residents must receive regular, nutritious, palatable meals. A dietitian must oversee the preparation of meal plans. Meals should be served three times per day, at a minimum. Residents with special dietary requirements should be catered to.
|Specialized Rehabilitative Services
|While nursing homes aren't required to offer in-house rehabilitative services, they must provide these were ordered by a physician. Provision may be in the form of connecting with a third-party provider.
|Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
|Facilities must either have a pharmacist on staff or work with one to ensure any medications used by residents are properly managed. Medication must be stored safely, and staff must keep records of the storage and disposal of all medications.
|Nursing homes are required to have a schedule of activities planned at least 1 month in advance and displayed prominently. The facility must keep records of the activities, who managed them and how many residents took part.
|Infection Control Requirements
|Infection control programs must be in place to prevent the spread of disease. Staff who are unwell are required to stay off work until they're fully recovered. Infectious diseases must be documented and reported in accordance with state requirements.
|Medicaid for Institutional Care can be used to cover certain costs. including room and board plus medical care for eligible individuals. Facilities cannot ask would-be residents to waive their right to apply for Medicaid.
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