Assisted Living in Minnesota
Nicknamed the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” scenic Minnesota has been ranked among the best states for senior living. The state is home to just over 5.7 million people, and about 55% of Minnesotans live within the seven-county region that encompasses Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Nearly one in six Minnesotans are aged 65 or older, and if these seniors need help with day-to-day care in their golden years, there are many assisted living facilities to choose from. Statewide, assisted living costs an average of $4,508 per month, which is less than in neighboring Wisconsin. The state’s Medicaid program includes some programs and waivers to help with the cost of care.
This guide offers an introduction to assisted living in Minnesota. Keep reading to find out how much assisted living costs and how to get help paying for it, as well as some useful resources for seniors.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, assisted living costs are close to the national average at $4,508 per month, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. This is slightly lower than the rate in neighboring Wisconsin, where the average is $4,600. However, other nearby states offer more affordable care costs. To the south in Iowa, seniors pay an average of $4,367 per month. For even lower prices, seniors may look to the Dakotas. The average cost is $3,391 per month in North Dakota, and slightly less in South Dakota at $3,350.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Minnesota’s Top Cities
Assisted living costs vary throughout Minnesota. In the Minneapolis area, which includes the Twin Cities and Bloomington, the average cost is $5,163 per month. Duluth seniors pay slightly less at $5,000 per month. In Rochester, the average cost is $4,180 per month, while St. Cloud is slightly lower at $4,100. Mankato boasts the state’s lowest cost. In this southern Minnesota city, seniors pay just $3,135 per month, on average.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
Seniors who are considering a move to assisted living may be interested in the average costs of other long-term care options. At $2,167 per month, receiving weekday-only care and supervision in an adult day care facility costs less than half as much as the $4,508 average paid for assisted living.
In-home care is much pricier: For homemaker services, seniors pay an average of $6,673 per month, and for the services of a home health aide, the average cost is $6,912. Seniors with extensive care needs that can’t be met at home or in assisted living facilities pay $11,601 for the around-the-clock care provided in Minnesota’s nursing homes.
Home Health Aide
Adult Day Health Care
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home Facility
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Minnesota?
Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program, may help eligible seniors pay for assisted living services. This coverage may be available directly through the Minnesota Senior Health Options managed care program or indirectly through the Minnesota Elderly Waiver.
The managed care program coordinates all of a senior’s Medicare and Medicaid services in one package, and assisted living may be part of the services they receive. The Elderly Waiver covers many services seniors receive at home or in a community setting, including assisted living.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in Minnesota
Minnesota may cover seniors’ assisted living services through Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO). This is a managed care program that delivers seniors’ Medicare and Medicaid-covered services, such as doctors visits, hospital care and lab tests. It also offers coverage for a variety of long-term care services, including assisted living.
Seniors may choose to enroll in MSHO if they’re eligible for Medical Assistance and enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. They also must live in a county where MSHO health plans are available. For the current year, every county in Minnesota has at least one MSHO plan choice, and many have more.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Minnesota
Elderly Waiver Program
Medicaid in Minnesota also covers assisted living through the Elderly Waiver, a home and community-based services waiver. This waiver covers a wide variety of services in seniors’ homes or in other settings to help them delay or avoid moving to a nursing home. It offers coverage for residential services, including the customized living services provided by assisted living facilities. These services may include:
- 24-hour supervision
- Help with activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing
- Health-related assistance, such as medication monitoring
- Home management tasks, such as laundry and housekeeping
- Nonmedical transportation
The Elderly Waiver doesn’t cover room and board. However, the state’s Housing Support program may help Elderly Waiver participants cover these costs.
Participants in the Elderly Waiver can choose where they want to live and receive services. However, they’re limited to assisted living facilities that have enrolled in the program. Facilities may set a limit on the number of Elderly Waiver participants they accept at one time, and there may be a waiting list.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Minnesota
Seniors may be eligible for Medicaid in Minnesota if they meet the program’s general and financial requirements. For the Elderly Waiver, there are also functional requirements.
In 2022, individual seniors may qualify for Medical Assistance if they earn less than $12,888 per year and own less than $3,000 in countable resources. For couples, the income limit is $17,436 and the resource limit is $6,000. Different rules apply when one spouse lives in an assisted living facility and the other lives in the community. Spousal impoverishment rules allow the community-dwelling spouse to retain up to $137,400 in assets.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Minnesota
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
(Only One Person Applying)
|$17,436||$3,000 for applicant|
$137,400 for non-applicant
(Both People Applying)
Seniors whose incomes and/or assets exceed these limits may still qualify for Medicaid. Certain expenses may be deducted from their household income, such as costs for Medicare. Some types of assets, including a home and vehicle, may also be excluded. Those who have high medical bills in comparison to their incomes could be eligible through the Medically Needy pathway and have a spenddown obligation.
In addition to these financial requirements, seniors need to meet certain general eligibility requirements. Applicants must be:
- U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens
- Residents of Minnesota
- Able to provide a Social Security number
For the Elderly Waiver, seniors must need the level of care provided in a nursing home. This is determined by a face-to-face long-term care consultation.
Applying for Medicaid in Minnesota
There are three ways to apply for Medicaid in Minnesota:
- Print a paper application and take or mail it to your county or tribal agency.
- Call (800) 657-3739 to have an application packet mailed to you, and then return the completed application to your county or tribal agency.
- Call or visit your local county or tribal agency.
Before You Apply
Before filling out an application for Medicaid in Minnesota, seniors should gather all necessary supporting documentation. This is important because applications with missing information may be denied. Documents to collect before applying include proof of:
- Minnesota residency, such as a Minnesota drivers’ license or state ID card.
- U.S. citizenship or qualified immigration status, such as a U.S. passport or permanent resident card.
- Income, such as pay stubs, tax statements or other documents.
- Assets, such as bank statements, property tax assessments and copies of vehicle titles.
- Other health insurance, such as paid medical bills or copies of the front and back of insurance cards.
Where to Go to Get Help
If you have questions about Medical Assistance, or need help submitting your application, there are free resources to turn to. Below, you’ll find sources of help.
|Minnesota Department of Human Services Website||(651) 431-2000||The Department of Human Services provides detailed information about Medical Assistance on its website. Seniors can browse the site for details about eligibility, benefits and how to apply.|
|County or Tribal Nation Human Services Offices||(651) 431-2000||There are 135 county and tribal human services offices throughout Minnesota. Seniors can call or visit their local office for help accessing Medical Assistance and other public benefits.|
|Senior LinkAge Line||(800) 333-2433||As the State Health Insurance Assistance Program for Minnesota, the Senior LinkAge Line offers one-on-one health insurance counseling and assistance. Seniors can call to learn more about Medical Assistance or to get help applying for coverage.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Minnesota?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Minnesota. 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 what Medicare visit medicare.gov.
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Minnesota?
|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 Minnesota
Many government agencies and nonprofit organizations can offer support to seniors who are considering assisted living options. Below, we’ve collected some useful free and low-cost resources that provide information and assistance, senior advocacy, recreation opportunities and other services you may need.
|Area Agencies on Aging||(651) 431-2500||Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are organizations that provide information and assistance to seniors. There are seven AAAs in Minnesota. Seniors can contact the AAA that serves their county for help finding or accessing aging-related resources.|
|Legal Services State Support||(651) 228-9105||Legal Services State Support is a free online service that helps Minnesotans solve legal problems. It provides self-help resources for a variety of legal issues, such as estate planning and elder law. The service can also connect seniors with free or reduced-cost legal services.|
|The Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care||(800) 657-3591||The Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care (OOLTC) is a state agency that serves Minnesotans who live in long-term care facilities. It educates seniors about their rights as assisted living residents and empowers them to be self-advocates. The OOLTC investigates complaints about care quality, rights violations and other issues and works to resolve seniors’ concerns.|
|Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs||(888) 546-5838||The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs can help senior veterans access the benefits they’re entitled to receive. Seniors can contact their county veterans service office to learn about these benefits and get help applying.|
|Minnesota System of Technology to Achieve Results (STAR)||(651) 201-2640||Minnesota STAR is a statewide program that helps seniors and people with disabilities access assistive technology. It offers information and demonstrations to help Minnesotans identify devices that may meet their needs. Seniors can take advantage of STAR’s short- and long-term device loans.|
|Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin||(952) 945-4000||This nonprofit organization sponsors the local chapter of the national AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program. Seniors who live in the Greater Twin Cities area can participate in fulfilling volunteer roles. These opportunities can help seniors stay connected to the community and make new friends.|
|Senior Community Services||(952) 541-1019||Senior Community Services is a nonprofit organization that operates four senior centers in the Minneapolis area. Seniors can visit their nearest center to take part in exercise classes, card games and other scheduled activities. The organization also offers virtual programming that seniors can enjoy from anywhere in Minnesota.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in California
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including health.state.mn.us 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 Minnesota
Assisted living facilities throughout the state are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health. This department conducts on-site inspections to ensure licensed facilities are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. It also takes enforcement actions to help protect residents’ rights, when necessary.