Arizona is the nation’s second-most popular retirement destination, after Florida. The state offers seniors year-round warm weather and nearly 40% more sunny days than the U.S. average. For the 18% of residents who are over 65, excellent health care is another advantage of living in Arizona: Mayo Clinic Phoenix ranks among the 20 best hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report. While the state’s overall cost of living is close to the national average, health care costs are about 5% lower — a major perk for frail seniors and their families.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that tracks health care data, there were 10,325 people living in Arizona’s certified nursing homes in 2019. For residents who stay in semi-private rooms, the average monthly cost of nursing home care is $6,844, per Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. Private rooms are pricier at $8,213.

This guide offers caregivers an introduction to nursing home care in Arizona, including typical care costs in Arizona’s major cities and where to get help paying for care. Plus, it explains some of the key regulations nursing homes must follow.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Arizona

According to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, Arizona’s average nursing home cost is not only lower than the national average but also lower than in most neighboring states. At $6,844 per month, the state’s average cost is nearly 12% lower than the U.S. average of $7,756. Costs in nearby states are much higher than in Arizona. In California and Nevada, prices are about 35% higher at $9,247 and $9,262, respectively. New Mexico is also more expensive than Arizona at $7,406 monthly. Within the immediate area, only Utah, where nursing home care runs $6,388 per month, is more affordable.




The United States






New Mexico



Overall, Arizona is an affordable state for nursing home care, but prices vary from one city to another. In the Prescott Valley area, the average cost is the same as the state average of $6,844. Phoenix has the highest average cost in the state at $9,247 per month but further south, prices are much lower. Nursing homes charge a monthly average of $7,118 in Yuma, $6,565 in Tucson and $6,920 in the Sierra Vista area. Near the Nevada border in Lake Havasu City, the average monthly cost of nursing home care is $7,437. For seniors on a budget, Tucson may be an ideal destination. Its average cost, at $6,565 per month, is nearly 18% lower than the Arizona average.




Lake Havasu City




Sierra Vista


Prescott Valley





Other senior care options in Arizona include in-home care, home health care, adult day care and assisted living care. In-home care, which includes help with housekeeping and other daily tasks, costs an average of $4,934, while seniors who require in-home assistance with basic medical care pay $4,957 for home health care. Seniors may choose to receive care outside of the home at an adult day care facility, which costs an average of $1,842 per month. Seniors who move to assisted living facilities pay an average of $3,900 per month.


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Arizona?

Arizona has more than 2 million residents enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, which is a more than 72% increase since coverage was expanded in October 2013. In nursing homes, the majority of residents—three out of five—receive Medicaid benefits to help with the costs. This state and federally funded program covers most services provided in nursing homes, including room and board, nursing services, medical equipment and other continuing and critical care services. 

There are more than 16,000 nursing home beds in Arizona spread among more than 145 facilities. Each nursing home offers a level of care similar to what seniors might expect to receive in a hospital. Arizona Long Term Care System is the Medicaid program that pays for nursing home stays for eligible seniors. In addition, it also offers assistance with care provided at home or in an assisted living community, although room and board isn’t covered in these settings.

Medicaid Eligibility in Arizona

To qualify for Medicaid in Arizona, applicants must meet certain financial guidelines. To qualify for ALTCS coverage, applicants must also demonstrate a functional need for an institutional level of care or be disabled. Arizona Medicaid offers long-term care as an entitlement program, which means individuals who qualify are eligible for benefits and there is no participation cap or waiting list to receive services. After an assessment and care planning meeting, seniors who qualify are immediately approved to begin receiving care in either a nursing home or community setting. 

To meet the program’s financial eligibility requirements, a senior may earn no more than $2,523 per month, or $30,276 per year. Applicants are considered as individuals for nursing home Medicaid, so income limits are doubled when both members of a couple apply. Married seniors can also provide an income allowance for a non-applicant spouse who continues to live in the community. The applicant can have up to $2,000 in countable assets, and a non-applicant spouse is eligible to retain up to $137,400 in assets. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arizona

Income Limits* 
Asset Limits

Single Applicant



Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)


$2,000 for applicant 

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)



*Per year

Seniors applying for Medicaid in Arizona must also be a resident in the state and U.S. citizen or legal resident. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Arizona

There are several ways to apply for Arizona Medicaid for long-term care. The application is available online for download. Alternatively, you can call (888) 621-6880 to have a paper application mailed out. To get help with the Medicaid application process, you can call the same number. Once completed, the application can be mailed to 801 East Jefferson Street, MD 3900, Phoenix, Arizona, 85034. In-person assistance is available at your nearest ALTCS office

Information You Will Need:

  • Proof of citizenship or legal residency
  • Social Security number 
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Name, address and contact phone number for a landlord or neighbor
  • A signed statement including contact information from a non-relative verifying the members of the applicant’s household and address
  • Proof of all incoming funds received in the current and prior month
  • Proof of lack of employment
  • Verification of medical insurance other than Medicaid, including Medicare

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Arizona

The following list includes contact details and contact information for free resources available to Arizona seniors when applying for Medicaid. 


(855) 432-7587

Health-e-Arizona PLUS is the organization operating under the Department of Economic Security. It provides application assistance for all public benefit types, including Medicaid, nutrition assistance, housing help and other programs that may offer financial help to seniors. 

(928) 298-2574

Arizona is home to seven regional AAA locations that act as one-stop help centers, connecting seniors to local and statewide assistance programs. Services such as in-home care, transportation assistance, home modifications and access to caregiver training may be available through your local agency.

(602) 417-4000

(800) 654-8713 (Outside Maricopa County) 

AHCCCS is the Arizona Medicaid program, and it provides services on a managed care model. Seniors work with a single agency to gain access to all available benefits, making the application process smooth and relatively straightforward. Help with Medicaid applications is available through the AHCCCS hotline.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Arizona?

Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it’s most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Isn’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.

Medicare Support & Resources in Arizona

Families considering nursing home care for their loved ones may wonder if Medicare can meet some of their costs. Although health insurance can’t help in the long term, it may provide initial assistance. Trained advisors associated with the organizations listed below may provide information and answers to questions about coverage.


(800) 432-4040

Arizona's State Health Insurance Assistance Program helps seniors and their families navigate the increasingly complex landscape of Medicare coverage. Trained volunteer SHIP counselors offer unbiased information about available coverage, possible out-of-pocket costs associated with each option and assistance determining premiums and making comparisons. 

(602) 364-3100

This state agency has created a list of resources for seniors who may need help finding long-term care insurance, medical insurance or other seniors benefit programs. It provides links to a list of companies offering long-term care insurance, a guide to long-term care insurance, local resources such as Area Agencies on Aging and Social Security Administration offices, as well as tools to help locate nearby nursing homes and compare options. 

(800) 432-4040

The SMP program operated by the Department of Economic Security helps seniors and their families identify and report health care fraud and errors. Seniors who may be facing extensive medical bills may get help better understanding their explanation of benefits and finding and fixing billing errors that may be increasing their cost of care. 

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Arizona

While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.

How to Apply
How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at

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 skilled nursing care.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. 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

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for skilled nursing care. 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 skilled nursing care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Arizona

When considering nursing home or alternative care options, you can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. The following free and subsidized programs may help you locate and access the services your loved one needs and help with the transition to long-term care. 


(888) 737-7494

The Arizona Caregiver Coalition is a community-based nonprofit organization that provides support aimed at those caring for a senior or loved one with a disability. Direct financial assistance may be available for assistive technology or home modifications needed to improve a senior's mobility or safety. Respite care provided in-home or at an adult day care facility is available. The coalition also hosts support groups and classes to help caregivers improve the quality of life for loved ones under their care.

(800) 477-9921 

AzTAP is a program overseen by the Department of Economic Security to help seniors and disabled residents by making assistive technologies available and affordable. AzTAP may loan out some devices and offer demonstrations on how to use them, such as Hoyer lifts and other mobility aids. More than 4,000 devices are in the catalog, ranging from telephone amplifiers to magnifying glasses designed to work with TV screens. Safety equipment for use in the bathroom or throughout the home is also available for those who qualify.

(800) 927-2260

The Arizona Center for Disability Law is a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal help to those who meet eligibility criteria. Seniors and caregivers are an area of focus, and legal help is available specifically for those with cases related to disabilities. The center's website features self-advocacy guides that offer a starting point for those seeking information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, fair housing, Medicaid and other public benefit programs.

(602) 492-7670

Isolation is one of the biggest dangers facing frail seniors, which is why Smile on Seniors works to pair older residents with local volunteers to act as a buddy. The organization operates in the Phoenix area and schedules weekly visits between seniors and volunteers. The same volunteer visits each week, helping seniors develop a relationship and socialize with someone new. Smile on Seniors also offers support groups for family caregivers who might need someone to talk to about the unique challenges of caring for an aging relative. 

(602) 542-6454, ext. 9

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provides seniors and their families with a way to resolve conflicts related to nursing home care providers. Ombudsmen offer education about patient rights and act as advocates for seniors living in nursing homes, adult foster care and assisted living communities. The program is also a resource for those who need to report cases of abuse or neglect for elderly residents of long-term care facilities. 

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Arizona

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/2/2022, 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 Arizona Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

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


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


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


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

Not Available*

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?


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


*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Arizona Communities

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

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?


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


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


COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Arizona Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?


Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?


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


Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?


Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?


Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?


Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Arizona

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Arizona
Licensing Requirements
Title 9, Chapter 10, Article 1 of the Arizona Administrative Code requires all nursing homes to be licensed as nursing care institutions. Licenses must be renewed annually. The state has the right to suspend or revoke licenses of facilities that don’t comply with the nursing home laws laid out in Title 9, Chapter 10, Article 4.
Staffing Requirements
Facilities must verify that all staff have appropriate skills and education for their positions. For positions that require licensing, such as registered nurses, the facility must document staff members’ licenses. Employees must hold valid fingerprint clearance cards. During each shift, nursing homes must have enough staff on-site to provide adequate care to residents. The Arizona Administrative Code doesn’t mandate specific staff-to-resident ratios. A negative tuberculosis test is required for all staff who will interact with residents for at least eight hours per week.
Staff Training Requirements
New staff members must receive orientation before caring for residents. Nursing home administrators must also provide appropriate continuing education for staff. 
Admission Restrictions
Seniors must be assessed by a registered nurse before being admitted to a nursing home. Seniors who need care outside of the facility’s scope of services can’t be admitted. 
Care Planning Requirements
Within 14 days of moving into a nursing home, residents must be assessed by a registered nurse. A care plan must be created that addresses any health conditions identified in the assessment. This plan must aim to help the resident maintain or restore their abilities.
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
Nursing homes that prepare meals on-site must be licensed as food establishments. Residents must be provided with three meals and one snack each day, and the menus must be based on the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy and reviewed by a registered dietitian. Nutritionally similar substitutions must be available on request.
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Nursing homes aren’t required to offer rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy. In facilities that choose to offer them, rehabilitation services can only be provided by licensed individuals.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Nursing homes may only administer medications that a resident’s physician has prescribed. At least once every three months, residents’ prescriptions must be reviewed by a pharmacist. Residents have the right to be informed about their prescriptions, including possible side effects. If medication errors occur, residents’ physicians must be notified.
Activities Requirements 
Administrators must employ a qualified person to manage the facility’s recreational activities. All communities must create a monthly activity calendar and display it in a visible location. Recreational activities must meet residents’ needs. 
Infection Control Requirements 
Arizona’s nursing homes must create an infection control program that includes tracking of communicable diseases and procedures to control infections. These procedures must cover disinfection, hand hygiene and personal protective equipment, as well as policies for dealing with medical waste. 
Medicaid Coverage
Seniors who meet medical and financial requirements can receive nursing home care through the Arizona Long Term Care System, a part of the state’s Medicaid program.