Assisted Living in Virginia
Of Virginia’s over 8.6 million residents, nearly 16% are adults aged 65 and older. While the everyday cost of living is slightly higher than the U.S. national average, there’s a lot for seniors to love about Virginia, including its low rates of crime, access to world-class health care and historical interests. The state is also tax-friendly toward retirees, with no taxes levied on Social Security retirement benefits and significant deductions available for other forms of retirement income.
As they age, some seniors may consider transitioning to an assisted living community that offers personalized health care services and assistance with daily tasks. In Virginia, these services cost an average of $5,250 per month, which is a bit higher than other regions in the U.S. Luckily there are a variety of federal and statewide resources to help offset these costs.
This guide provides an in-depth look at assisted living in Virginia, including a care cost analysis, where to find financial assistance and a list of state resources to support seniors in their aging journey.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in Virginia?
According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Virginia is $5,250 per month. This number is higher than the U.S. national average and several surrounding states, which may be something for budget-conscious seniors to consider. In nearby Washington, seniors can expect to save around $350 per month for assisted living services. West Virginia is significantly less expensive at an average of $4,160, similarly priced to North Carolina, which costs $4,010 per month. The most affordable option for care in the region is Kentucky, where assisted living care is just $3,448 per month — a difference of over $1,800 compared to Virginia.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Virginia’s Top Cities
A variety of factors can affect the cost of assisted living care, and these costs can vary greatly between cities across Virginia. The most expensive city is Roanoke, at an average cost of $5,925 per month, followed by Harrisonburg at $5,711 and Charlottesville at $5,700. Richmond is closest to the Virginia state median at $4,901. Staunton and the Virginia Beach area fall just below the statewide average, costing $4,708 and $4,690, respectively. The most affordable city is Lynchburg, at $4,625, which is over $600 less expensive than the average city in Virginia.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
Seniors at varying stages of their aging journey may require different levels of care and attention to meet their needs. There are multiple care options available in Virginia in addition to assisted living. The most affordable option is adult day care at an average of $1,690, which is a great choice for individuals who require minimal assistance. Those who desire to age in place at home may opt for homemaker services or the assistance of a home health aide. These services cost $4,767 and $4,954, respectively. The most comprehensive option is skilled nursing care provided at a nursing home, which can cost upwards of $8,213 — the average price for semiprivate accommodations.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Virginia?
While nursing home stays are fully covered by Virginia Medicaid, it does not directly cover the cost of assisted living. However, seniors can help offset the costs of these services by applying for the Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver (CCC+) program. Additionally, Virginia’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program can provide health care services and support to seniors enrolled in Medicaid, though it is not a waiver program.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in Virginia
The Virginia Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver allows seniors who need a nursing home level of care to have more freedom over the services they receive and the setting they receive them in. This includes consumer-directed personal care services, respite care, adult day health care, transition coordination and assistive technology. These services may be provided in seniors’ own homes or in a community-based setting.
The PACE program provides long-term care support for older adults aged 55 and up living with chronic health care needs or disabilities so that they can remain living at home or in a community-based setting rather than a nursing home facility. Many assisted living costs are covered by this program, including specialty medical services, prescription medications, physical and occupational therapies, dentistry and hospice care. Seniors who qualify for Medicaid will receive these long-term care benefits at no cost or for a small monthly fee.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Virginia
Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver (CCC+)
Virginia Medicaid’s Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Waiver, known as CCC+ or CCC Plus, is a long-term services and support program available to Medicaid enrolled seniors aged 65 years of age and older. Serving over 260,000 individuals across the state, eligible applicants receive a person-centered, individual care program through which medical services, personal care, nursing care and behavioral health services are administered by a coordinated team of health care professionals.
For questions regarding applications and eligibility requirements or to schedule a screening, seniors can contact their local Department of Social Services. Applications can be completed online through CommonHelp or by calling Cover Virginia’s Call Center.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Virginia
There are certain requirements applicants must meet in order to be eligible for Medicaid. Financially, an individual’s income may not exceed $17,131 per year and assets must be lower than $2,000. For couples applying together, the income limitation is $23,169, with an asset limitation of $4,000. Certain assets, such as family heirlooms, household effects and one vehicle, are considered separate and do not apply.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Virginia
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
(Only One Person Applying)
|$23,169||$2,000 for applicant|
$137,400 for non-applicant
(Both People Applying)
Applicants must also be:
- A resident of Virginia
- A U.S. national or a permanent resident illegal alien who requires health care insurance
- An individual aged 18 to 64 whose finances fall below Medicaid’s financial limits
Individuals may also be eligible to apply if they are:
- Pregnant or responsible for a child under the age of 18
- Disabled or living in a household with an individual who has a disability
- At least 65 years of age
Applying for Medicaid in Virginia
When applying for Medicaid in Virginia, seniors have several options. Applications can be conveniently completed online through CommonHelp or by downloading a paper application to be submitted to the local Department of Social Services. Seniors may also apply by calling Cover Virginia’s Call Center at 855-242-8282.
Before You Apply:
When applying for Medicaid, seniors are required to provide the following information:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Proof of residency in Virginia, along with proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status
- Proof of household income, including Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, veterans’ benefits and tax returns
- Proof of assets, such as all bank accounts, retirement accounts and trusts
- Social Security number
- Current health insurance policy numbers, including Medicare, if applicable
Where to Go to Get Help
The following organizations and agencies can provide information about the health care policies available to seniors and offer them assistance with applying for Medicaid:
|Department of Social Services||(804) 726-7000||Seniors can contact their local Social Services Department for assistance with understanding eligibility requirements and the application process, and answering questions they may have about the benefits they’re eligible for. The office is also where seniors should submit their paper applications for Medicaid.|
|Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(804) 565-1600||In addition to its long-term care advocation efforts, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides information and assistance to seniors enrolled in the CCC+ waiver program. Medicaid Managed Care Advocates can help participants understand the program’s covered services, access their benefits and resolve any issues with their coverage. The organization can also act as an independent third party and assist with the reapplication process for individuals who were previously denied coverage.|
|Cover Virginia||(855) 242-8282||Cover Virginia can help seniors understand Virginia’s Medicaid programs and provide information about eligibility requirements. The organization offers assistance with coverage applications, renewals, changes and application status checks.|
|CommonHelp||(855) 635-4370||CommonHelp acts as a guide to help seniors navigate and apply for assistance. This includes understanding their coverage benefits, checking their eligibility, renewing their benefits, reporting changes in their household information and finding their local office.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Virginia?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Virginia. 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 Virginia?
|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 Virginia
Seniors in Virginia have access to several resources offered by government-sponsored agencies and nonprofit organizations to direct them to where they can find assistance with paying for assisted living care and accessing health care benefits. They may also be beneficial for seniors searching for community-based services, local social programming and legal aid.
|Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging||(804) 545-1644||The Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a network of the 25 local Area Agencies on Aging across Virginia. AAAs are a comprehensive resource where seniors, family members and caregivers can go for information about long-term care, care coordination services and referrals to local support agencies. The VAAAA can help seniors find their local Area Agency on Aging. The organization also facilitates a Senior Medicare Patrol program aimed at identifying, preventing and reporting health care fraud.|
|Virginia Assisted Living Association (VALA)||(804) 332-2111||The Virginia Assisted Living Association, known as VALA, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seniors, their families and members of the community better understand the state’s long-term care options through advocacy efforts, education and informational resources. The organization also works with government agencies to ensure regulatory documents are up to date and advocates for the improved quality and affordability of senior living.|
|Virginia Department of Veterans Services||(804) 786-0286||The Virginia Department of Veterans Services advocates for the needs of veterans across Virginia and helps connect them and their eligible dependents with a wide range of services. This includes free assistance with filing benefits claims for benefits such as pensions, disability compensation, burial benefits and Aid and Attendance payments. The organization can also help seniors locate and coordinate long-term health care services, find support groups and connect with fellow veterans.|
|Virginia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(800) 552-5019||The Virginia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is an important resource for seniors living in assisted living facilities and other community-based settings. The agency works to improve the quality of life for aging Virginians by advocating for their rights, managing situations of abuse and neglect, providing information and acting as an independent third party to resolve any issues seniors may encounter with their long-term care. It can also assist individuals enrolled in the CCC+ waiver program with obtaining benefits, resolving coverage issues, and reapplying for coverage if denied.|
|Social Security Offices||(800) 772-1213||Throughout the state, the Virginia Social Security Office allows seniors to get their Medicare and Social Security cards and apply for health care coverage and benefits plans. Offices also offer screening to help seniors identify the benefits that they’re eligible for, including Medicaid and SSI.|
|Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP)||(804) 662-9333||Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) offers free and confidential counseling to aging Virginians enrolled in Medicare. Counselors are trained and certified to provide information about health care coverage plans, including Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap, CCC+ and other long-term care insurance plans. They can also assist with filing for benefits, health care appeals and managing denied applications.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Virginia
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus 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 2/15/2022, 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 Virginia
In Virginia, assisted living facilities, commonly known as ALFs, are licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services. ALFs must adhere to a complex set of laws and regulations in order to operate. At least one unannounced inspection is conducted each year to ensure the facility is upholding these requirements.