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Why Medicare Doesn’t Pay for Senior Living Communities

Medicare typically does not pay for assisted living communities because Medicare is primarily a federal health insurance program designed to provide coverage for medically necessary services, such as hospital stays, doctor visits, and certain skilled nursing care. Assisted living communities primarily offer custodial care and support with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and medication management, which are considered non-medical or long-term care services.

Here are a few reasons why Medicare does not cover assisted living:

1. Custodial Care vs. Skilled Care: Medicare covers medically necessary services provided by skilled medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and therapists. Assisted living facilities primarily provide non-medical assistance with daily activities, which falls under custodial care, and is not typically covered by Medicare.

2. Eligibility Criteria: To qualify for Medicare coverage, an individual generally needs to meet specific eligibility criteria, such as being age 65 or older or having certain disabilities. Medicare does not have specific provisions for covering the cost of assisted living based solely on age or disability.

3. Location and Setting: Medicare coverage is primarily designed for care provided in specific healthcare settings, such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home healthcare. Assisted living facilities are residential settings that do not meet the criteria for Medicare coverage.

4. State Medicaid Programs: While Medicare does not cover assisted living, Medicaid, a joint federal and state program for low-income individuals, may provide some coverage for assisted living services in certain states. Eligibility and benefits vary by state, and individuals may need to meet specific income and asset requirements to qualify for Medicaid-funded assisted living services. Arizona’s state Medicaid program, referred to as ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care System) pays for seniors who meet its requirements and is honored at Yuma Senior Living.

Without ALTCS, seniors typically need to rely on personal savings, long-term care insurance, or other private pay options. It's essential to plan for long-term care needs and explore financial options in advance to ensure that you or your loved ones can afford the necessary care as they age.

Keep in mind that healthcare policies and regulations may change over time, so it's advisable to check with Medicare, Medicaid, or a qualified healthcare professional for the most up-to-date information regarding coverage and eligibility criteria.

Having a trusted care team to rely on such as those at Yuma Senior Living allows for assistance when applying for ALTCS. Yuma Senior Living also offers Independent, Assisted and Memory Care living options, 24-hour on-site care staff and weekly housekeeping in a tranquil and safe environment. Simply give them a call at

(928) 388-6858, and their team will schedule an onsite tour at your convenience.


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