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Nursing Homes in Alaska

Nursing homes play a vital role in providing care for seniors who may require assistance with daily activities, intensive medical care and social support. These facilities provide a range of services, from skilled nursing care to rehabilitation services and memory care, and staff are trained to care for seniors with varying needs and are available 24/7 to provide support and assistance. Meal services, recreational activities, medication support and other services are some benefits of transitioning to nursing home care.

According to the United States Census Bureau, approximately 13.3% of Alaska's population is 65 years of age or older. Of this population, approximately 702 people reside in the state's 20 nursing homes.

This guide provides an overview of the cost of nursing home care in Alaska and walks through the different financial supports available, including Medicaid and other state-wide programs. It also shares a variety of resources that may be helpful for seniors and their families in their search for quality care.

Cost of Alaska Nursing Homes

The average cost of nursing homes in Alaska is $771 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 Alaska?

In Alaska, Medicaid can be used to pay for some or all of a senior's nursing home costs. As of December 2022, there were 263,206 people enrolled in Alaska's Medicaid program. In terms of nursing home and long-term care benefits, Alaska Medicaid covers a wide range of services including room and board, nursing services, medical supplies and therapy services. Additionally, Alaska offers waiver programs for skilled nursing care when applicable, such as the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver, which allows individuals to receive care in their homes instead of in a nursing home. 

Eligibility for Medicaid in Alaska

To be eligible for Medicaid in Alaska, seniors must meet certain income and asset requirements. As of 2022, households must have an income within 133% of the federal poverty level to qualify for coverage. For a single-person household, the income limit is $13,764 per year and the asset limit is $2,000. For a two-person household, the income limit is $18,564 per year and the asset limit is $3,000.

Income Limits*Asset Limits
Single Person$13,764$2,000
Two-Person Household$18,564$3,000

*per year

In addition to the income and asset limits, there are other eligibility requirements that must be met in order to qualify for Medicaid in Alaska. These requirements include:

  • Citizenship or residency status: Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified resident with a valid immigration status and residency in Alaska.
  • Health status: Applicants must have a medical need for the services covered by Medicaid, which can include nursing home care, home health care and other long-term care services.

For the most current information on Medicaid eligibility and income limits in Alaska, visit the state government's Medicaid page.

Applying for Medicaid in Alaska

If a household meets the eligibility requirements for Medicaid in Alaska, there are several application options available. Seniors can apply online through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services website or apply in person at one of the state's Division of Public Assistance offices. To find the nearest office, visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services contact page. Applicants can also apply by mail by printing out an application from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services website and sending it to the address listed on the form.

What Information You Will Need:

  • Proof of citizenship or residency status, such as a passport, birth certificate or immigration documents
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income, such as recent pay stubs, tax returns or bank statements
  • Proof of assets, such as bank statements or property deeds
  • Medical history and current health status
  • Information about any current health insurance coverage
  • Information about any long-term care insurance policies

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Alaska

In addition to Medicaid benefits, there are several other resources available to seniors in Alaska who may need additional support with health care and long-term care. 

ContactService
Alaska Medicaid Health Enterprise(800) 478-6065The Alaska Medicaid Health Enterprise is responsible for the administration of the Medicaid program in Alaska. Their website offers a wealth of information on eligibility, benefits and how to apply for Medicaid.
Alaska Commission on Aging(907) 465-3250The Alaska Commission on Aging provides a variety of services and resources related to aging, including assistance with Medicaid. They can provide information on eligibility requirements, benefits and how to access long-term care services covered by Medicaid. They also offer assistance with Medicare and other health-related programs.
Alaska Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program(907) 334-4480The Alaska Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy and support for seniors in long-term care facilities, ensuring every senior receives quality care. It can also receive complaints about the quality of care in facilities and assist with resolution.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Nursing Home Care in Alaska?

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 several specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • 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 & Resources in Alaska

While Medicare cannot assist with nursing home care in the long term, it may be possible to use Medicare to help with the initial costs. Otherwise, there are several organizations ready to assist individuals with determining whether there are health insurance options available in their specific case.

ContactService
Alaska Medicare Information Office(800) 478-6065The AMIO is a program of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, and it is part of the national network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) that provide free, unbiased counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and their families.
Medicare Rights Center(800) 333-4114The Medicare Rights Center is a nonprofit organization that provides education, advocacy and counseling to people seeking Medicare. They can help to understand Medicare benefits, navigate the enrollment process and appeal denied claims.
Aging and Disability Resource Center(907) 343-7770This organization provides information and assistance to Alaskans who are aging or have a disability, as well as their families and caregivers. The ADRC provides comprehensive information and resources related to aging and disability services, including assistance with disability benefits, long-term care planning and referrals to other resources.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Alaska

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 ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn 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.
Reverse MortgagesLearn 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) InsuranceLearn 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 Alaska

Licensing RequirementsNursing homes in Alaska must obtain and maintain a valid license from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services in order to operate. These licenses ensure that nursing homes meet certain standards for quality of care, safety and staffing.
Staffing RequirementsNursing homes must maintain a sufficient number of staff members to provide adequate care to residents. The exact staffing requirements may vary depending on the size and needs of the facility, but must include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.
Staff Training RequirementsNursing home staff must receive training on a regular basis in areas such as resident rights, infection control and emergency procedures. This helps ensure that staff members are knowledgeable and skilled in providing high-quality care to residents.
Admission RestrictionsNursing homes may not discriminate against potential residents based on their race, religion or gender, among other factors. They must also meet certain criteria for admission, such as having a medical need for nursing home care.
Care Planning RequirementsNursing homes must develop and implement a care plan for each resident that addresses their individual needs and preferences. These care plans help ensure that residents receive the appropriate level of care and support for their specific needs.
Dietary and Nutritional Services RequirementsNursing homes must provide residents with nutritious meals and snacks that meet their dietary needs and preferences.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesNursing homes must provide residents with specialized rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy when necessary. These services help residents maintain or improve their physical functioning and independence.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesNursing homes must ensure that residents receive appropriate medication and pharmaceutical services, including medication administration and management.
Activities RequirementsNursing homes must provide residents with a variety of social and recreational activities to promote their well-being and quality of life. These activities may include exercise programs, arts and crafts, games and outings.
Infection Control RequirementsNursing homes must implement measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among residents and staff. This includes regular cleaning and disinfection, appropriate use of personal protective equipment and monitoring of illness outbreaks.
Medicaid CoverageNursing homes in Alaska may be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to eligible residents who meet certain income and asset requirements. This helps ensure that residents have access to necessary care even if they cannot afford it on their own.

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