Assisted Living in Mississippi
Mississippi is an attractive state for seniors for several good reasons. Among them are temperate winters and an average cost of living 17% lower than the national average. It features well-regarded medical facilities, especially in the capital city of Jackson, home to the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center with its dedicated Cancer and Cardiovascular Centers. Of its 2.9 million residents, seniors make up a significant 16.4%.
According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, Mississippi seniors pay an average of $3,500 monthly for assisted living. Compared to nearby Tennessee and Arkansas, where average monthly costs are $4,105 and $3,760, respectively, assisted living in the Magnolia State is a bargain. It also offers financial aid to cover these costs, including Medicaid waiver programs and veteran benefits.
This guide provides an introduction to assisted living in Mississippi. It includes information about monthly care costs, options for financial aid and free local resources available to seniors and their families.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in Mississippi?
At $3,500 per month, Mississippi’s assisted living cost is lower than in nearby states and well below the $4,500 monthly national average, per the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. At $4,105 per month, costs in nearby Tennessee are the highest in the region. Prices in bordering states Arkansas and Louisiana are comparable to Mississippi but still lower at $3,760 and $3,748, respectively. Alabama offers the region’s second-lowest assisted living costs at $3,503 per month.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Mississippi’s Top Cities
While Mississippi’s average monthly cost for assisted living care is $3,500, prices vary from city to city. In the capital city of Jackson, monthly assisted living costs are well above the state average at $4,350. Monthly fees in Oxford and Hattiesburg are also higher at $4,200 and $4,124, respectively. Biloxi and Gulfport have the most affordable averages in the state at $3,800 per month for assisted living.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
There are several options for senior care in Mississippi, each offering a different level of complexity. In-home care and home health care (which includes some medical services) both cost an average of $3,813 per month. Adult day care, which provides daytime, community-based care, costs an average of $1,408 per month. Nursing homes in Mississippi charge an average of $7,118 per month for care in a semiprivate room.
Assisted Living Facility
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Nursing Home Care (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Mississippi?
Medicaid covers assisted living expenses in Mississippi through Assisted Living (AL), a Mississippi Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver program. The Home- and Community-Based Elderly and Disabled (E&D) waiver program may also cover assisted living costs.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in Mississippi
Mississippi has limited waiver programs for assisted living. The AL and E&D waiver programs support eligible applicants by providing personal care and other supportive services in assisted living communities, an alternative to nursing home placement. Eligibility criteria include income, level of impairment, and being age 65 or older. As a waiver is not an entitlement, it may place eligible seniors on a waitlist for funding.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Mississippi
Assisted Living (AL) waiver
The state designed the AL waiver program to assist eligible seniors with activities of daily life (ADLs), such as eating and maintaining personal hygiene, and provides personal care and other supportive services within approved assisted living communities. Applicants would normally require a nursing facility level of care without assistance. The AL waiver is available in all Mississippi counties. The program’s webpage offers more information on program details.
Home- and Community-Based Elderly and Disabled (E&D) Waiver Program
The Elderly and Disabled Waiver program provides home- and community-based services to individuals aged 21 years old and older who would normally require a nursing home care level. Waiver beneficiaries must qualify for Medicaid as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries or meet the income and resource eligibility requirements. Funded services include:
- Adult day care
- Home-delivered meals
- Personal care services
- Institutional respite services
- Community transition services
- Physical therapy services
- Speech therapy services
Eligibility for Medicaid in Mississippi
Individuals must meet the Mississippi Medicaid income limit criteria. This requirement means a single applicant cannot have a monthly income greater than $841 or $10,092 annually and an asset cap of $2,000. For a two-person household, the income limits are $1,261 per month or $15,132 annually with a $3,000 asset limit, whether only one person or both people apply.
Assets typically exempt from limits include personal items, up to two motor vehicles, some life insurance policies and a primary home with less than $595,000 in equity. Countable assets include savings, stocks or second homes. For married couples, Medicaid considers assets as jointly owned.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
|Two-Person Household(Only One Person Applying)||$15,132||$3,000|
(Both People Applying)
There are also non-financial requirements for receiving benefits through Mississippi’s AL and E&D waiver programs. Applicants must:
- Be 65 or older
- Live in Mississippi
- Be a U.S. citizen or have resident status
- Have a specific level of impairment requiring aid with ADLs
Applying for Medicaid in Mississippi
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM) and Bureau of Long-Term Care administer Medicaid waivers. To apply, call (800) 421-2408, complete an online application or get in touch with a counselor at your local Area Agency on Aging.
Before You Apply
The specific items you need to provide will vary depending on your situation, but Mississippi requires the following documentation for Medicaid applications:
- Citizenship documents such as a U.S. passport or birth certificate
- Documentation for immigration status, such as a Green Card
- Proof of income, such as pay stubs or Social Security, SSI or veteran benefits
- List of personal assets
- Proof of insurance
- Medical receipts or statements
Where to Go to Get Help
There are online resources available that can help seniors who need assistance applying for Medicaid. Government agencies and local community-based organizations can also provide more personalized information about Medicaid and help seniors complete the application process.
|Mississippi Access to Care Center (MAC Center)||(844) 822-4622||MAC Centers serve the elderly, their family members and representatives seeking assistance with long-term care. They provide information and referrals to needed services, counseling and screening for Medicaid waivers.|
|Office of Long-Term Care Mississippi Division of Medicaid||(601)|
|The Mississippi Division of Medicaid operates from one central office in Jackson and 30 regional offices across the state. Check the list online for locations, hours and phone numbers.|
|Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)||(844)|
|SHIP is a free counseling service for seniors and is part of a national network with offices in almost every state. Its counselors answer questions about Medicare and Medicaid applications and advise on prescription drug coverage and other low-income assistance programs.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Mississippi?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Mississippi. 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 Mississippi?
|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 Mississippi
There are many online and in-person resources available to seniors living in Mississippi. The following selection offers free and accessible information, counseling and other services.
|Mississippi Area Agency on Aging (AAA)||(800) 963-5337||There are 10 AAA offices throughout Mississippi promoting access to long-term care resources for those aged 60 and over. Through the Agency’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC), seniors can obtain information on state and federal benefits that may help with assisted living services, along with local programs and services, such as transportation, congregate meals and medical equipment loans.|
|(800) 773-1737||Based in Hattiesburg and with offices in Gulfport, Jackson, McComb and Meridian, the MCLS provides free and low-cost legal advice to seniors on issues ranging from housing to Medicaid.|
|State Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(601) 359‐4927||With its main office in Jackson and multiple regional offices, the Ombudsman advocates for seniors and others living in long-term care facilities.|
|Deliver Me Senior Support||(601)|
|Based in Jackson, this nonprofit organization provides services to needy seniors, including grocery delivery, vision care, hearing care, used clothing, appliances, furniture, supplementary nutrition programs and more.|
|Senior Blue Book||Online and (228) 396-4602||The national Blue Book project compiles resources for seniors and offers a free referral hotline that addresses local scenarios. It mails printed editions for free, and seniors can view a vast video library, articles and other resources online.|
|Senior Veteran Service Alliance||(800) 728-1497||Although it is a membership organization, the Senior Veteran Service Alliance offers a free referral service to senior veterans and their families and publishes a guide to accessing veteran benefits.|
|The online Eldercare tool is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and aims to connect users to resources for older adults, their families and caregivers.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Mississippi
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including msdh.ms.gov and cms.gov. 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 Mississippi
The Mississippi State Department of Health and Health Facilities Licensure and Certification license and regulate the state’s assisted living and residential living facilities. This division is also responsible for certifying health care facilities for participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs.