Assisted Living in Kansas
Kansas is a hidden gem for seniors seeking a comfortable retirement. Famous for its Wild West history and Kansas City-style barbecue, this Midwestern state’s lesser-known charms include its low cost of living and mild winters with limited snowfall.
About 16% of the state’s 2.9 million residents are 65 or older, and with this large senior population, there’s no shortage of assisted living options. The average cost for assisted living care is $4,580 per month, which is on par with the national average, but there are financial assistance programs that can help bring the price tag down, including Medicaid waivers.
This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of assisted living in Kansas. Keep reading for details about how much assisted living care costs and the many financial assistance options that could help you pay for it.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in Kansas?
The 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey revealed that in Kansas as a whole, seniors pay an average of $4,580 per month for assisted living care. This is on par with the national average of $4,500 and more affordable than in neighboring Colorado, where seniors pay $4,750 per month. To the south in Oklahoma, the average cost is $3,855, while to the north in Nebraska, seniors are paying $4,076. To the east in Missouri, the average cost is just $3,000 per month — the lowest in the nation.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Kansas’ Top Cities
While the cost of assisted living in Kansas as a whole is similar to the national average, some major cities offer pricier care. Wichita, the largest city in the state, has the highest average cost at $5,425 per month. Manhattan isn’t far behind at $5,398. In Lawrence, the cost is similar to the statewide average at $4,538. State capital Topeka offers the lowest average cost of any major city in Kansas at $4,495 per month.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
In Kansas, costs vary widely depending on the type of care a senior needs. Monthly nursing home care costs are about $1,700 higher than assisted living at $6,296 for a semiprivate room. This fee reflects the 24-hour medical care available in these facilities. The average costs of home care ($4,576) and home health care ($4,671) are similar to assisted living. However, it’s important to note these in-home care costs don’t include the other costs of living at home, such as rent, utilities and groceries, so the actual costs of aging in place could be much higher. Seniors who want to age in place on a budget may consider adult day care, which provides weekday-only care for $1,788 per month.
Home Health Aide
Adult Day Health Care
Nursing Home (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Kansas?
KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program, may help eligible seniors pay for assisted living care. It does this through the Frail Elderly waiver, a home and community-based services waiver.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in Kansas
KanCare’s Frail Elderly waiver is designed to help seniors get the long-term care they need at home or in the community, rather than in a nursing home. Seniors may choose to receive Frail Elderly waiver services in an assisted living facility.
While the Frail Elderly waiver doesn’t cover room and board, it does cover many of the services seniors receive in assisted living facilities, such as personal care and comprehensive support. Other Frail Elderly waiver services include adult day care and a variety of in-home services, including personal care and telehealth.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Kansas
The Frail Elderly waiver helps seniors who need nursing home-level care live in a less restrictive setting, such as their home or an assisted living facility of their choosing. Keep reading for details about this waiver program.
Frail Elderly Waiver
The Frail Elderly waiver is available to people 65 years of age and older who need nursing home-level care and meet the program’s financial requirements. It may cover a wide range of long-term care services and supports, depending on a senior’s individual needs.
For seniors who choose to live in an assisted living community, waiver services may include:
- Personal care services
- Supportive supervision
- Wellness monitoring
- Nursing evaluation visits
- Personal emergency response systems
The Frail Elderly waiver doesn’t pay for the costs of room and board or other living expenses. However, seniors are free to choose any participating assisted living facility in the state that fits within their budget.
For help applying for the Frail Elderly waiver or to learn more, seniors can contact the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center at (855) 200-2372.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Kansas
The financial eligibility requirements for Medicaid in Kansas vary depending on the program. While the annual income limit for full-scope Medicaid coverage is $18,075 for an individual, there’s no set income limit for seniors who are only interested in Frail Elderly waiver services.
Instead of a strict income limit, Kansas applies cost-sharing requirements for seniors seeking assistance with assisted living costs. Seniors who earn more than $1,177 per month ($14,124 per year) are responsible for a portion of their care costs. For seniors who earn more than 300% of the SSI benefit rate — for 2022, that’s $2,523 per month or $30,276 per year — the state requires that their cost of care is higher than their share of cost.
Various deductions, such as Medicare premiums and uninsured medical expenses, may be applied to reduce a senior’s income. It may also be possible for a senior receiving assisted living services to allocate some of their income to their spouse. These calculations are complex, so seniors can talk to a KanCare eligibility worker to find out if their income falls within the guidelines.
Resource limits for the Elderly waiver are more straightforward. Seniors seeking Elderly waiver services are permitted up to $2,000 in countable assets, and if they have a spouse, the spouse’s resource allowance is $137,400. When both members of a couple need services, a shared limit of $3,000 applies.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Kansas
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
|Single Applicant||Not specified||$2,000|
|Two-Person Household(Only One Person Applying)||Not specified||$2,000 for the applicant, $137,400 for their spouse|
(Both People Applying)
In addition to the income and resource requirements outlined above, there are some general rules that apply to Kansas Medicaid. To be eligible for help with long-term care costs, seniors must:
- Live in Kansas
- Be a U.S. citizen or qualified noncitizen
- Need nursing facility level of care
Applying for Medicaid in Kansas
Seniors can call the KanCare Clearinghouse at (800) 792-4884 to request an application packet, or they can download and print an application from the KanCare website. Completed applications can be either faxed to (844) 264-6285 or mailed to the below address:
P.O. Box 3599
Topeka, KS 66601-9738
Seniors who prefer to apply online can do so through the Medical Consumer Self-Service Portal.
Before You Apply
When you apply for KanCare, be prepared to provide information about yourself and other people in your household. This includes Social Security numbers, employment information and details about income and assets.
KanCare may ask for proof to support the claims seniors make on their applications. Before submitting an application, collect any documentation you may need to provide later. This may include:
- Proof of work income, such as copies of pay stubs
- Proof of other income, such as checks or benefit letters
- Proof of assets, such as bank statements and annuity statements
- Proof of other health insurance, such as a copy of the insurance card
Where to Go to Get Help
KanCare and the Frail Elderly waiver are complex programs. Fortunately, there are a few resources seniors can turn to if they have questions about how Medicaid works or need help submitting an application.
|KanCare Website||(800) 792-4884||The State of Kansas provides detailed information about KanCare online. Seniors can browse the official KanCare website to learn more about the program, including covered services, eligibility requirements and how to apply.|
|Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK)||(800) 860-5260||SHICK is a free, statewide program that provides one-on-one health insurance counseling to Medicare beneficiaries. Seniors can contact SHICK if they have questions about how KanCare works with their existing Medicare coverage.|
|Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities||(785) 267-1336||Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are nonprofit organizations that provide information and assistance to seniors. At the 11 AAAs throughout the state, Kansas seniors can get help completing Medicaid applications and accessing the Frail Elderly waiver.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Kansas?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Kansas. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not considered to be “clinical settings’ and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, you can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.
For more information about Medicare visit medicare.gov.
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Kansas?
|How to Apply||How It Works|
|Aid and Attendance||Apply online at va.gov.||If you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.|
|Reverse Mortgages||Research and learn about the different types at ftc.gov||If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.|
|Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance||Learn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at acl.gov.||While those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.|
Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Kansas
Kansas seniors who live in an assisted living facility, or who are still weighing their long-term care options, can take advantage of the state’s many aging resources. Below, we’ve collected some helpful free and low-cost resources for seniors.
|Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center||(855) 200-2372||The Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center provides information about long-term care services and supports. Seniors can call its statewide hotline to learn about resources in their community. The ADRC’s options counselors can help seniors make informed decisions about their care choices.|
|Assistive Technology for Kansans||(620) 421-8367||Assistive Technology for Kansans is offered by the University of Kansas. This statewide program helps seniors access the assistive devices they need to age well. It distributes used durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, at no cost. Other services include short-term device loans and help navigating funding options.|
|Elder Law Hotline||(888) 353-5337||The Elder Law Hotline is a project of Kansas Legal Services, a statewide legal aid provider. Kansans who are 60 or older can call the hotline for answers to their civil legal questions. Seniors who need more than brief advice may be referred to a local attorney for further assistance.|
|Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(877) 662-8362||The Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for assisted living residents. The program’s 10 staff and approximately 130 volunteers investigate complaints and work with residents and facilities to solve problems.|
|Kansas Social Security Offices||(800) 772-1213||At Social Security Administration field offices throughout the state, seniors can learn about and get help accessing Social Security benefits. They can make an appointment for help with retirement benefits, disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare and other Social Security programs. The office can also help seniors replace lost or stolen Social Security cards.|
|Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office||(800) 513-7731||The Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office offers assistance to the approximately 172,000 veterans in the state. Seniors can contact this office if they need help filing claims for veterans’ benefits, such as pensions or disability compensation.|
|Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver||(785) 430-4240||Kansas’ public universities offer tuition-free undergraduate and graduate courses to senior citizens. Kansans who are 60 or older can choose to audit courses that interest them, space permitting. Course offerings and rules for non-degree students may vary from one participating school to another.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Kansas
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including kdads.ks.gov/covid-19 and cdc.gov/coronavirus. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Yes|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Yes|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Kansas
To protect residents, the state requires that each assisted living facility meets standards for staffing, resident care, dietary services and more. These standards are outlined in Article 41 of the Kansas Administrative Regulations. The state licensing agency, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, conducts regular unannounced inspections to monitor compliance.