Florida is well-known as one of the top retirement destinations in the United States, and it has seven out of the 10 best places to retire in the United States. Out of a population of over 21 million people, more than 4 million Floridians are aged 65 and older. 

Florida has several nationally ranked hospitals across many cities, from Miami to Gainesville. Florida also ranks number one for nurse staffing rates among the 10 most populous states. The state has over 600 licensed nursing homes, representing approximately 84,448 beds. With about 72,161 seniors residing in nursing homes, these facilities roughly have an 85% occupancy at any given time. 

In addition to room and board, nursing home facilities provide skilling nursing care, therapies, rehabilitation, personal care and medication 24 hours a day. The average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home facility is $8,669 per month, and the cost of a private room is $9,817, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020.

This guide covers everything related to nursing home care in Florida, including the average monthly cost, Medicaid eligibility, financial assistance options, free and low-cost services and nursing home rules and regulations.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Florida

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, Florida has a monthly average nursing home care cost of $8,669 for a semi-private room. Compared to neighboring states and the country, Florida has the most expensive option for nursing home care. The national average of nursing home care is $7,756 per month, over $900 less than Florida’s average. The neighboring state of Alabama has a monthly average nursing home cost of $6,540, over $2,000 less than Florida. Georgia’s prices are also less costly at $6,722 per month.

$8669

Florida

$7756

The United States

$6540

Alabama

$6722

Georgia

The cost of nursing home care across Florida varies from city to city. In general, the larger cities tend to have some of the highest nursing home care costs in the state. Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, has an average monthly nursing home care cost of $8,638 per month for a semi-private room, almost on par with the Florida average. Miami and Orlando have nursing home care costs of $9,095 and $9,125, respectively, and Tampa has an average price of just under $10,000 per month. The least expensive nursing home care option in Florida is Sebring, located in the state’s center, with a cost of $7,451. However, despite having a population of less than 30,000, Naples has the most expensive nursing home care cost in Florida at $10,391 per month.

$7452

Sebring

$7543

Tallahassee

$8638

Jacksonville

$9095

Miami

$9125

Orlando

$9946

Tampa

$10391

Naples

A semi-private room in a nursing home facility is the priciest care option in Florida. Seniors can expect to pay over $4,000 more for a room in a nursing home facility than receiving care in their own home. The least expensive choice in the state is adult day care at $1,408 per month. Assisted living facilities cost half the price of nursing home care at an average of $4,195 per month in Florida.

$1408

Adult Day Care

$3700

Assisted Living

$4195

Home Care

$8669

Nursing Home Care

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Florida

Most people do not pay for skilled nursing care entirely out of pocket. Rather, they utilize financial assistance programs to help cover the cost of nursing care. Of public financial assistance programs, Medicaid provides the most comprehensive coverage of nursing home care. But, not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid. And because each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines, eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. Below, we provide more information on Medicaid in Florida.

Florida’s Medicaid Program

As of July 2020, the number of people enrolled in Florida’s Medicaid and CHIP program was 3,930,734. Out of those numbers, 3,716,747 were enrolled in Medicaid only and 213,987 were in CHIP. In Florida, Medicaid recipients are enrolled in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC), and those who need long-term care are enrolled in the Long-Term Care branch. This branch covers nursing facility costs. The program reimburses 365 days a year for all-inclusive nursing facility services based on the conditions that a state-licensed physician prescribes the services and the recipient occupies a Medicaid-certified bed. Recipients must meet level of care requirements, must have been determined as needing institutional nursing care and must meet the criteria for Institutional Care Program (ICP) Medicaid. 

Florida also has a long-term care waiver program where eligible individuals 65 and older who need a nursing facility level of care can receive the services at home or in the community. However, they may also receive care in a nursing facility setting. There are currently 691 licensed nursing homes in Florida with over 84,000 beds.

Medicaid Eligibility in Florida

For Floridians to be eligible for Medicaid, they must be a Florida resident, a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a legal alien and require a nursing home level of care. Applicants for Long-Term Care Medicaid must also meet the state’s income limits, which is approximately $2,349 per month for a single household and an asset limit of $2,000. 

Florida seniors can apply for the Long-Term Care Medicaid Program online at the Medicaid Member Portal or by phone at 1-877-711-3662. They can also contact their local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) for more information. 

Alternative Financial Assistance Options

  • Medicare: Medicare will cover the cost of one’s care in a skilled nursing facility for the first 20 days of their stay, and a portion of the costs up until day 100. After 100 days, the individual is responsible for all costs. Seniors must also have a “qualifying hospital stay” of at least 3 days prior to their admission to a nursing home in order to qualify for Medicare coverage.
  • Aid and Attendance: 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: 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. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Florida

Florida has additional resources seniors and their loved ones can access for free or at a low-cost. These programs can help with nursing home care costs, delay the need for nursing care by providing in-home services or offer much-needed care while waiting to move into a nursing home facility.

ResourceContactService
Veterans Affairs Long-Term Care(877) 222-8387Veterans may be able to receive long-term care services if they’re signed up for VA health care. Services include 24/7 nursing and medical care, physical therapy, help with daily living tasks and pain management. Veterans can receive care at nursing homes. In addition to being enrolled in VA health care, seniors must also be cleared by VA as needing a specific service to help with personal care or treatment, and the care setting must be available near them.
Home Care for the Elderly (HCE)(800) 963-5337Seniors aged 60 and older may be eligible to receive care in family-type living arrangements in their own homes to prevent or delay the need for nursing home care. The program provides a subsidy averaging $160 per month that can be used for incontinence supplies, assistive devices, medications or home health aide. Eligible seniors must be at risk of nursing home placement and must meet income and asset limits.
Care Transitions Program for North Central Floridians(800) 262-2243The Care Transitions Program provides services for seniors recently discharged from the hospital or rehab stay. The program helps them recover in their homes to prevent or delay nursing home placement and hospital readmission for up to 30 days. Services include care coaching, homemaking and medication reconciliation. Those eligible must have recently been discharged from the hospital and be living temporarily in a nursing home or a rehabilitation center patient.
Respite for Elders Living in Everyday Families (RELIEF)(850) 414-2374The RELIEF Program offers free in-home respite care for family members caring for frail elders and those with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The goal of RELIEF is to provide a much-needed break for these family members. The program also offers evening and weekend respite care.
Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) Program(800) 963-5337The Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) Program offers community-based services to impaired seniors. These services include adult day care, companionship, counseling, home nursing, legal assistance and many more. Eligible individuals must be 60 years or older and functionally impaired. 

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Florida

Licensing RequirementsAll nursing home facilities must be licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration to operate in Florida. Separate licenses are required for facilities managed in different sites, even if operated by the same management.
Staffing RequirementsEach nursing home must have a designated director of nursing and an assistant director of nursing in a facility with more than 120 residents. The facility must also have sufficient nursing staff on a 24-hour basis.Nursing staff cannot be scheduled for more than 16 hours within 24 hours unless there’s an emergency.Each nursing home facility must also have a licensed physician to serve as medical director. In facilities with less than 60 residents, a physician can serve as a medical consultant instead.
Staff Training RequirementsEach nursing facility must have staff education in HIV/AIDS training and at least one-hour of training for Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders. Staff education must also include prevention and control of infection, fire prevention and disaster preparedness, accident prevention and residents’ rights. 
Admission RestrictionsResidents suffering from an infectious disease cannot be admitted to a nursing facility unless there are adequate isolation measures in place to control the transmission of the disease. Residents who need services beyond what the facility is licensed or able to provide may not be retained in the facility.
Care Planning RequirementsResidents admitted to a nursing facility must have a care plan. The care plan must contain a preliminary nursing evaluation, an assessment of each resident’s functional capacity, and physician’s orders, diagnosis, medical history and rehabilitative potential. The facility must also create a comprehensive care plan that describes the services provided for the resident. The care plan must be completed within seven days after completion of the resident assessment. 
Dietary and Nutrition Services RequirementsNursing facilities must have a designated full-time director of food services (DFS). The DFS must be a qualified dietitian or the facility must receive consultation from a qualified dietitian. A facility must also maintain a one-week supply of non-perishable food and supplies.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesEach facility must provide residents access to rehabilitative services, and residents have the right to receive therapeutic and rehabilitative services in accordance with their care plan.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesNursing homes must either employ or obtain the services of a state-licensed consultant pharmacist. The consultant pharmacist is tasked with creating a drug record system and ensuring it’s accurate and in order. Prescription and nonprescription drugs that require refrigeration must be locked and only accessible to licensed staff.
Activities RequirementsNursing facilities must allow residents access to recreational and other health-related services that may not be directly provided by the facility.Residents must also have the right to participate in social, religious and community activities, receive planned recreational activities and join in community-based activities programs.
Infection ControlNursing facilities must keep the premises and equipment sanitary and implement infection control policies and procedures. Facilities must also provide willing residents with influenza vaccinations.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid covers nursing home care for qualified Floridians. Seniors must be 65 years and older, require a nursing home level of care and meet the income requirements.

Nursing Homes Facilities in Florida (120)