Maine offers cutting-edge health care facilities, very low crime rates and a wide selection of senior living options, making it one of the best places to live and retire in the United States. Maine also boasts the highest senior population of any state, and more than 21% of its almost 1.37 million residents are aged 65 and older.

Overall, Maine ranks sixth on our 2022 Senior Living Report thanks to high scores in the Health Care and Community Involvement categories. It’s home to excellent hospitals, such as Maine Medical Center in Portland and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, both of which were ranked as high performing in several procedures by U.S. News & World Report. Maine also offers many programs and resources to help support seniors, and a number of its cities and towns are part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The average cost of assisted living in Maine is $5,865 per month, which is more than the national average, but the state offers a Medicaid waiver for people who need help paying for care.

This guide provides a comparison of the cost of assisted living in Maine with nearby states, prices in different Maine cities and rates for other types of care. It also includes information about Maine’s Medicaid waiver, free resources for seniors and a list of assisted living regulations that facilities in Maine must follow.

$5865

Maine

$4500

The United States

$6053

New Hampshire

$5250

Vermont

$6500

Massachusetts

$4580

New York

Assisted living rates vary significantly between the major cities in Maine. Bangor is the cheapest city in the state with an average cost of $4,750 per month. The median cost jumps to $5,484 in Lewiston, while in Portland, seniors pay the highest rate statewide at $6,525 per month. 

$4750

Bangor

$5484

Lewiston

$6525

Portland

In addition to assisted living, Maine seniors have several other options for long-term care. Adult day care provides the least supervision, so it’s priced accordingly at just $2,600 per month. Home care and home health care services cost $5,720. Both of these services provide personal care and help with activities of daily living, but home health care also includes certain medical services, such as medication administration.

The most expensive choice is nursing home care, which costs $10,494 for a semiprivate room or $11,254 for private accommodations. This type of care provides skilled nursing services and 24-hour supervision, and it’s ideal for those with significant physical or mental impairments.

$5865

Assisted Living

$5720

Home Care

$2600

Home Health Care

$2600

Adult Day Health Care

$10494

Nursing Home Care (semiprivate)

$11254

Nursing Home Care (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Maine?

Maine’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, covers assisted living costs directly for eligible seniors with limited incomes and assets. Seniors who meet medical and financial requirements may qualify for coverage through the Residential/Assisted Living program.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Maine?

MaineCare’s Residential/Assisted Living program covers a variety of services for eligible seniors based on their individual care plans. These services may include:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Health support
  • Medication assistance
  • Assistive technology
  • Attendant services
  • Case management and care coordination
  • Personal care
  • Personal emergency response system
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapies
  • Respite
  • Transportation to medical appointments

The program helps cover the cost of services for seniors who expect to stay longer than 30 days in a residential care facility. To qualify, applicants must need less care than what’s provided in a nursing home but still require assistance with services such as personal care, medication administration and homemaking. Limited funding is available, and program participation is capped, so seniors may be placed on a wait list to obtain coverage.

To enroll in the Residential/Assisted Living program, applicants must complete a three-step process:

  1. Fill out the Long-Term Care application. On the application, check the “Residential Care Facility” box below “What do you want to apply for?” to request coverage for assisted living.
  2. Undergo a functional assessment through Maine’s Assessing Services Agency program. This assessment includes questions about the applicant’s care needs, health and financial circumstances to determine their eligibility.
  3. Complete a face-to-face assessment if the Assessing Services Agency decides it’s necessary.

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Maine

Eligibility for MaineCare is determined by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). To qualify for long-term care assistance, residents must:

  • Be 65 years or older
  • Be blind or disabled
  • Meet income and asset requirements

As of 2022, single applicants can have an annual pretax income of up to $17,131 and assets valued at no more than $2,000.

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$17,131

$2,000

Married (Only One Person Applying)

$23,169

$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non applicant

Married (Both Spouses Applying)

$23,169

$3,000

In addition to meeting income requirements, applicants may need to undergo a medical needs assessment to confirm their eligibility to receive services.

How To Apply For Medicaid in Maine

Seniors can apply for MaineCare via the My Maine Connection web portal or submit a paper application at their local DHHS office. For questions about the application, contact the DHHS Office of Family Independence at (855) 797-4357 or complete the request assistance support form.

Information You Will Need

Individuals should have the following information available when applying for MaineCare:

  • Names and birth dates of all applicants
  • Proof of Maine residency
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income, such as tax returns or pay stubs 
  • Documentation of assets, including assets that were sold, liquidated, transferred or cashed in during the 60 months prior to submitting an application
  • Copies of health insurance cards, including Medicare

How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Maine residents have several options if they want to learn more about MaineCare benefits and get help with the application process. Seniors can contact the following resources for assistance.

Resource

Contact

Description

(800) 499-0229

Long-term care ombudsmen serve as advocates for people who are dealing with MaineCare application denials and those who have had necessary medical services denied by MaineCare. They work with MaineCare on an individual's behalf to get needed services approved. Ombudsmen can also file an appeal for a hearing in the event of unexpected benefit reductions and terminations.

(800) 965-7476

This organization operates a consumer assistance helpline that provides unbiased advice about MaineCare and other health insurance programs. Staff members can help seniors get enrolled, figure out their coverage, file appeals and find programs that subsidize health and prescription drug costs.

(866) 626-7059

Maine Equal Justice features a list of frequently asked questions about MaineCare on its website. Residents can find answers about eligibility requirements, income verification, MaineCare for immigrants and more.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Maine?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Maine. Assisted living facilities are considered to be a “residential setting” and not a “clinical setting,” (think nursing homes). While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care received in an assisted living community, it does still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for senior living in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Maine.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Maine

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Assisted Living affordable.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at va.gov.

Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Assisted Living.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Assisted Living. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Assisted Living. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Assisted Living will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Maine

There are many nonprofit organizations and government agencies offering free programs and services to seniors throughout Maine. The following resources include legal aid, financial assistance programs for low-income people, wellness education and help for military veterans.

Resource

Contact

Description

(877) 353-3771

Maine's five Area Agencies on Aging can answer questions about long-term care options and offer unbiased advice to help seniors pick the ideal facility for their needs. Staff can provide referrals to community services, including employment training, support groups and wellness classes for falls prevention and managing chronic conditions. Seniors can call the statewide toll-free number to be connected to the AAA office serving their area.

(207) 430-6035

The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services provides assistance for former military members, surviving dependents, caregivers and other family members. Its main function is to help veterans obtain the benefits they've earned through their service, such as pensions and disability compensation, which seniors could put toward the cost of assisted living care.

(800) 772-1213

SSI recipients can visit one of Maine's Social Security Offices to receive screening for Medicaid, which may be used to pay for assisted living for those who qualify. Offices also provide help with getting replacement Social Security and Medicare cards. Residents can find their closest office by entering their zip code on the office locator page.

(877) 353-3771

SHIP is a free, confidential service that answers questions for Medicare recipients and people who will be eligible for Medicare soon. It provides information about different Medicare plans, MaineCare, insurance claims, medical bills and programs that may lower the cost of prescription drugs. Counselors can also provide referrals to other agencies and programs that could help seniors pay for assisted living.

(207) 400-3212

Pine Tree Legal Assistance provides free legal aid for low-income seniors in Maine. Some issues it can help with include neglect and abuse in assisted living facilities, writing wills and denials for Medicaid and other public benefits. Attorneys are able to accept civil (non-criminal) cases only.

COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Maine

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including maine.gov and cdc.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 3/22/2022, 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.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Maine Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Maine Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Maine Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Maine

Assisted living facilities throughout Maine are regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Facilities are required to comply with all state laws, rules and regulations for quality of care, medical services, room occupancy, staff training, background checks and reporting of abuse.

MAINE LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

Assisted living facilities must provide a comprehensive assessment of each resident's care needs, health status, dietary restrictions and mental condition. This assessment must be performed within 30 days of admission and at least every six months or earlier if the resident's status changes significantly.

Assisted Living Admissions Requirements

Assisted living facilities in Maine must ensure that they can meet all of an applicant's care needs prior to admission. Applicants may not be admitted if they're at high risk for health and safety conditions that can't be adequately managed or are deemed dangerous to themselves or others. 

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Facilities must provide personal care, assistance with residents' activities of daily living, housekeeping, chore services, care coordination, transportation to medical appointments and other services as identified in an individual's care plan.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Assisted living is one of the long-term care services covered through Maine's Medicaid program, MaineCare, for individuals who qualify. Coverage under MaineCare is only available at licensed, approved facilities.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

For facilities licensed on or after May 29, 1998, double-occupancy rooms must have a minimum of 120 square feet per resident and private rooms a minimum of 80 square feet per resident. The maximum allowed occupancy is two residents per room. Facilities must have at least one toilet for every four residents and one bathtub or shower per every eight residents.

Medication Management Requirements

Assisted living staff who manage resident medications are required to complete a medication administration course approved by the Board of Nursing. Approved staff can hand residents medication, read labels, check dosages and observe residents taking medications. Facility administrators must arrange for a pharmacist to conduct an on-site review of resident prescriptions, records and physician orders every 6 months.

Staffing Requirements

Each facility must have an on-site administrator who's at least 21 years of age. Maine doesn't have patient-staff ratio requirements except for Level IV facilities, which require at least one staff member to be present at all times for facilities with 10 beds or fewer. Facilities with more than 10 beds must have a minimum of two staff members present at all times.

Staff Training Requirements

Administers must hold a professional license related to residential care or have 5 years of experience or education in the health care field. Level IV staff members must complete a 50-hour personal support specialist course and a 40-hour medication course to administer medications. Training and education requirements aren't specified for staff members in facilities below Level IV.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

Staff members must submit to a background check through the Maine Background Check Center (MBCC), which is operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Facilities may not employ anyone found to have a committed disqualifying offense, which include elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

Maine's assisted living staff are considered mandated reporters and are required to report abuse, either observed or suspected, to the DHHS. Staff can report abuse by calling (800) 624-8404 or completing the DHHS Online Report Form.