Arkansas, dubbed the Natural State, features dense forests and soaring mountains. It’s home to over 3 million people, and the size of its senior community exceeds the national average at 17.4% of the population. For the 20,000 residents who require nursing services in any given year, over 200 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are available, as well as several large health care facilities that feature a broad range of specialties. Little Rock’s UAMS Medical Center is nationally recognized for its innovation and areas of expertise, which include hearing and balance, heart and vascular care and senior health. The state is also home to other high-performing hospitals such as Baptist Health Medical CenterWashington Regional Medical Center and Baxter Regional Medical Center.   

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock long-term skilled nursing care and supervision. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, Arkansas residents pay approximately $5,931 per month for semiprivate rooms in nursing homes, and those who opt for private accommodations pay $6,540.  

This guide covers nursing home care in Arkansas, including its monthly costs, options for financial assistance and local agencies that help individuals evaluate their long-term care options. It also outlines the state-mandated regulations that nursing homes in Arkansas must comply with.  

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Arkansas

At $5,931 per month for semiprivate accommodations, Arkansas is among the most affordable states in the country for nursing home care. Nationwide, facilities charge nearly $2,000 more, with an average cost of $7,756. While Arkansas is affordable compared to the national median, it’s one of the pricier options in the region. Missouri, which borders Arkansas to the north, is the most affordable state for nursing home care, with fees at $5,080 monthly. Louisiana and Oklahoma are cost-effective options at $5,536 and $5,323 per month, respectively. Tennessee is the most expensive option in the region, but at $7,072 monthly, it’s still cheaper than the national average. 




The United States









Across Arkansas, nursing home fees vary widely depending on factors such as local living costs, the number of facilities and the care fee structure. In Fort Smith, which is situated in the northwestern corner of the state, fees are lowest at $5,551 monthly. In nearby Fayetteville, fees are several hundred dollars higher at $6,007. In Hot Springs and the Little Rock area, which includes Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway, nursing homes charge $6,083 per month. In Pine Bluff, located in the northeast corner of the state, fees are the highest at $6,183 per month. Nursing home fees in Jonesboro are moderately priced at $5,779.  


Fort Smith


Fayetteville area


Hot Springs


Little Rock area


Pine Bluff



Because of the comprehensive service and supervision that skilled nursing facilities provide, nursing home care is the most expensive type of senior care in Arkansas. Depending on the individual’s needs, other types of care may be more appropriate and more affordable. For seniors who prefer to live at home but need skilled nursing services, home health care is a relatively affordable option at $3,813 monthly for 44 hours of weekly care. Home care, which includes personal care services and housekeeping, has the same average monthly fees. Assisted living, which may be a good option for those who need short-term or intermittent skilled nursing services, is considerably more affordable at $3,500 per month. The most economically priced senior care option is adult day care, which costs $1,820 per month on average.  


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Arkansas?

Medicaid is a low-income health option for individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford insurance coverage. For seniors in Arkansas, Medicaid can cover the entire cost of nursing home care, including room and board and personal services like housekeeping, grooming, medication management, medical equipment, medications and physician’s visits.

As of September 2021, over 940,000 individuals in the state were covered by Medicaid. Seniors on Medicaid throughout the state have access to 223 nursing homes, which provide skilled nursing care 24/7. Aside from Medicaid, the state has specific Medicaid programs to provide additional financial support for those in long-term care. The Independent Choices (IC) Program is the self-directed option that gives seniors more freedom to choose where they receive care, and the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver covers the cost of personal care services, including non-medical transportation. Nursing evaluations and medication oversight.

Medicaid Eligibility in Arkansas

To be eligible for Medicaid, applicants must meet the income requirements set by the state. In Arkansas, this limit must not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). All money received by the applicant is counted toward this final total. This includes pension payments, Social Security disability, Social Security income, IRA withdrawals, stock dividends, alimony, unemployment and cash from family and friends.

The financial requirement for a single applicant is $30,276 per year, and for a two-person household with both individuals applying, this amount is $30,276 per year per person. If only one spouse applies the amount for one spouse is $30,276 per year, but the non-applicant may be eligible for a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) under the spousal impoverishment rule, which ensures the individual has the money they need to remain comfortably in the home alone.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arkansas

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant



Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$30,276 for applicant

$2,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household

(Both People Applying)

$30,276 per spouse


Additional requirements:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be a resident of Arkansas
  • Be age 65 and older
  • Require nursing care service

How to Apply for Medicaid in Arkansas

Seniors applying for Arkansas Medicaid should apply in person at their local Department of Human Services office (DHS). Individuals may also locate their local office by calling the state DHS number at (501) 682-1001 or may apply online at the state website. To apply by mail, seniors can download the appropriate forms and mail them to their local DHS office or call (855) 372-1084 to speak to a state counselor and apply on the phone.

Information You Will Need

  • Proof of citizenship or qualified alien status
  • Valid Social Security number (SSN)
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • VA discharge papers
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of income for the past 60 days
  • Bank statements for the past 60 days
  • Proof of ownership of assets including deeds and titles
  • Copies of health and life insurance policies
  • Social Security award letters
  • Any documentation that might help prove your case

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Arkansas

Medicaid support and resources can help seniors navigate their choices for coverage and improve the odds for acceptance. Counselors can offer free and low-cost assistance to help answer some of the most common questions.




(800) 275-1131 is operated by the federal government to connect individuals with available benefits, including healthcare and medical assistance. The site offers details about program services, eligibility and how to apply as well as contact information.

(800) 852-5494

The Arkansas Insurance Department helps individuals throughout the state locate insurance to suit their needs. The site offers information on open enrollment and provides detailed information on Medicaid, including how to apply and where to find local resources.

(501) 683-5687

Staff members at the DHS can provide information on the available public assistance programs, including Medicaid, Medicare and prescription drug coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Arkansas?

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 and Resources in Arkansas

Seniors searching for supplemental insurance options and help answering questions about Medicare coverage have access to several resources in the state. Trained counselors provide unbiased advice on the different options for coverage and help seniors understand their eligibility for a wide range of public assistance programs.




(800) 633-4227 is a federal website that provides a live chat service and contact information on how to get answers regarding eligibility, plan details, individual claims and supplemental insurance. The site also has a database with information on general health and health conditions, health care facilities, diabetes intervention and other treatment programs.

(855) 577-4410 provides information on the different coverage options in each state. It also offers health insurance basics, including how to purchase supplemental insurance and a database of information on some of the most common questions regarding Medicare.

(800) 224-6330

SHIP provides local, in-depth information regarding Medicare to eligible individuals, their families and caregivers. Local SHIP counselors can answer questions about out-of-pocket costs, coverage changes, how supplemental insurance works and understanding elder rights under Medicare.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Arkansas

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 Arkansas

Arkansas seniors can find information regarding federal, state and local resources that assist with activities of daily living and nursing home care. These resources address a variety of needs on everything from transportation to personal care.




(866) 292-7165

The Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging is a nonprofit state association that addresses the needs and concerns of seniors. These agencies can help seniors receive assistance with daily care, including shopping, housekeeping, meal prep, transportation and medication management. Additional services include family caregiver support, senior centers and home respite care.

(501) 372-0807

The Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association advocates for seniors in long-term care and provides information and education to low- and moderate-income older adults in the state. Services include food assistance, housing assistance and emergency food and shelter.

(888) 286-3610

The Arkansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman works to solve issues that occur in long-term care facilities. The ombudsman also advocates for change to ensure seniors receive the best care possible in regard to health, safety, welfare and individual rights. The ombudsman also oversees nursing homes and assisted living communities.

(501) 683-2382

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs helps men and women who’ve served in the military by offering information on available benefits and compensation. Trained counselors answer questions regarding housing, health care, counseling, burial benefits and educational opportunities.

(888) 540-2941

Arkansas Legal Services offers legal information and resources online for seniors. The site includes a helpline where seniors can call and receive free legal assistance immediately regarding issues like consumer affairs, wills and trusts and guardianships.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Arkansas

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including These rules apply to Independent Living Communities 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 Arkansas Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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 Arkansas Communities

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

Not Available*

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

Not Available*

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?


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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Arkansas Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?


Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

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?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Arkansas

Licensing Requirements 
In Arkansas, nursing homes are required to obtain licensing through the Office of Long Term Care. Separate nursing homes owned by a common management company must obtain separate licensing. If a nursing home is sold to a new management company, both the buyer and the seller must notify the Office within 30 days prior to the completion of the sale.
Staffing Requirements 
Nursing homes are required to maintain specific direct care staff-to-resident ratios. During the day shift, there must be one direct care staff member for every six residents and a licensed nurse for every 40 residents. During the evening shift, there must be a caregiver for every nine residents and a licensed nurse for every 40 residents. The night shift must include one caregiver for every 14 residents and one registered nurse for every 80 residents. Enough direct care staff members must be available at all times to attend to residents' scheduled and unscheduled needs.
Staff Training Requirements 
Nursing homes are required to provide job orientation for all new hires. This orientation must include an overview of the facility’s layout, its disaster plan and the new employee’s duties and responsibilities. At least 90% of each shift’s caregivers must also receive training on a quarterly basis on the proper use of fire-fighting equipment and evacuation procedures. On an annual basis, all personnel must complete training pertaining to recognizing and reporting abuse. 
Admission Restrictions 
Residents can only be admitted to a nursing home on the recommendation of a licensed physician. Before admission, prospective residents must be screened for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. Within 15 days prior to admission or 72 hours after, nursing homes must complete a comprehensive examination of the new resident that includes their hospital history and a physical exam.
Care Planning Requirements 
Nursing homes must develop care plans based on the attending physician’s recommendations. Care plans must include the resident’s medications, treatment, rehabilitative services, dietary needs and restrictions, precautions that they must take, plans for continuing care and conditions for discharge.
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements 
Nursing homes must provide three meals daily that are approved and appetizing and that include sufficient nutrients for residents. Daily food allowances must include two 8-ounce portions of milk, 5 ounces of meat, at least four servings of fruits and vegetables, at least four servings of bread or cereal, and snacks to round out meals and satisfy residents’ appetite between meals.
Specialized Rehabilitative Services 
Residents have the right to receive rehabilitative services and restorative therapies. If the facility offers specialized rehabilitative services, they must provide administrative and patient care policies in writing. If they don’t offer rehab services directly, they’re not permitted to admit residents that need these services until they make proper arrangements.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services 
Nursing homes can’t administer medications without written orders from a physician or dentist. All medications must be given by authorized nursing personnel, and each resident’s medication must be stored in its original container in its own compartment or bin in a secured medication room.
Activities Requirements
Nursing homes are required to provide at least two recreational activities daily. These activities must accommodate residents’ interests, needs and limitations. Residents must be informed of activities ahead of time and given the opportunity to participate.
Infection Control Requirements
Nursing homes must have written policies and procedures for investigating, controlling and preventing infections. These must include aseptic and isolation techniques, proper disposal protocol for infected dressings, syringes and needles, and prohibition of the use of shared drinking cups, soap bars or towels.
Medicaid Coverage 
Nursing home services are covered by Medicaid for residents who meet medical eligibility and income and asset guidelines under the Long Term Services and Supports Medicaid Assistance program.