Nursing Homes in Idaho
With a population of nearly 1.8 million people, Idaho has a lot to offer residents, including stunning scenery and lower-than-average costs for health care. Many people choose to settle down and retire in the state, as 16.3% of the population is aged 65 and older. To help these individuals with their long-term care needs, the state of Idaho has 82 nursing homes available to serve the aging population.
In these nursing homes, seniors receive around-the-clock supervision and skilled nursing professionals are on hand to provide needed care. The average cost for care in a semiprivate room in an Idaho nursing home is $8,669 a month, according to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Seniors who prefer a private room can expect to pay an average of $9,125 per month.
This guide will help seniors and their families find the right nursing home care, outline ways to pay for that care and showcase resources that can help seniors stay healthy and well as they age in Idaho.
The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Idaho
Idaho is an fairly average state when it comes to the cost of nursing home care. For a semiprivate room, Idaho residents pay an average of $8,669 per month, according to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. This is right in the middle compared to costs in surrounding states. Washington and Oregon have considerably higher costs of $9,581 and $10,114, respectively. This level of care costs significantly less in Utah and Montana, where the respective averages are $6,388 and $7,665. The cost of nursing home care in Idaho is also notably higher than the United States average of $7,756 per month.
The United States
The cost of nursing home care in Idaho varies depending on where a senior chooses to retire. In Coeur d’Alene in the northern part of the state, the average is very close to the state average. Here, seniors pay $8,638 a month for nursing home care. In Twin Falls the cost is similar, but a little higher, at $8,836. Boise has the highest average in the state at $9,125, while Lewiston has the lowest at $7,254 per month. Idaho Falls is also on the high end at $9,064, while in Pocatello, seniors pay just $8,213.
Nursing home care is one of several options for care in Idaho. Seniors who don’t require 24/7 supervision or skilled nursing care may opt to live in an assisted living community. The average cost for this type of care is $3,675 a month. The most affordable option is adult day care, which averages $2,297 per month. Both home care and home health care average $4,481 a month, based on 44 hours of care a week. Home care can allow seniors to age in place with a little extra assistance, and home health care includes basic medical care. All of these care options are considerably less expensive than nursing home care, which averages $8,669 a month.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home Care
Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Idaho?
Idaho Medicaid covers the costs associated with nursing home care for eligible individuals in a Medicaid-approved facility. Items that may be covered include the cost of room and board, housekeeping, grooming, bathing, toileting and general nursing. As of September 2021, approximately 398,309 individuals were enrolled in Idaho Medicaid, and that number rose by nearly 68%, up from 160,159, in the past eight years.
To accommodate those who require nursing home care, the state has a total of 79 facilities with approximately 4,312 beds. As an alternative to nursing home care, the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Aged and Disabled Waiver pays for services for individuals who want to receive care at home and delay entry into a nursing home. The program isn’t an entitlement program, so only a limited number of seniors are accepted to receive the waiver. The waiver pays for services like adult day care, homemaker services and home modifications.
Medicaid Eligibility in Idaho
Medicaid eligibility requires specific income requirements. Typically, seniors eligible for Medicaid must have an income that falls below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL). For a single applicant, this amount is $30,516 per year or $2,543 per month. This amount also applies to a two-person household where only one individual applies. The non-applicant may be entitled to a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) under the spousal impoverishment provision to prevent financial hardships.
For a two-person household when both individuals apply, the income limit is $60,792 per year or $5,066 per month.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Idaho
(One person applying)
$30,516 per applicant
$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant
(Both people applying)
Other Medicaid eligibility criteria includes:
- Live in Idaho
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Be 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability
How to Apply for Medicaid in Idaho
Individuals interested in applying for Idaho Medicaid may submit an application online at Idalink. Applications are also accepted in person at any local Department of Health and Welfare field office or by calling the agency at (877) 456-1233. To apply by mail, download an application and mail it to a local field office or fax it to (866) 434-8278. Applications may also be submitted via email to MyBenefits@dhw.idaho.gov.
Information You Will Need:
- Copy of birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship, if born outside the United States
- Government issued photo ID
- Social Security number
- Bank statements for the past 60 days
- Proof of income for the past 60 days
- Verification of retirement income and accounts
- Copy of life insurance
- Property deeds and titles
- Legal documents for power of attorney, wills and trusts
- VA discharge papers for veterans
- Additional documentation to support an individual claim
Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Idaho
Several resources are available to help seniors and other individuals get answers to questions concerning Medicaid and other health insurance. These resources may also provide application assistance and offer the ability to make changes and check on the status.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare assists individuals when applying for benefits. The official website features an online portal for applying for insurance, plus some additional benefits for low-income households. Case workers also answer questions concerning coverage and eligibility and can direct individuals with educational materials on health and planning.
Benefits.gov was launched by the federal government to help citizens navigate the choices for government benefits. The site helps seniors determine their eligibility and makes it possible to make adjustments to applications and to check the status.
Healthinsurance.org is a consumer information site that provides information about public health insurance and health reform. Individuals may contact a licensed agent who can answer questions concerning coverage and eligibility.
Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Idaho?
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:
- A semiprivate room
- 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 Idaho
Medicare applicants in Idaho can receive assistance when applying for help through several free agencies in the state. Trained counselors can help applicants navigate the available choices and decide whether additional help is needed when paying for nursing home care.
Medicare.gov is the number one site to go to for answers to questions regarding Medicare rights, costs and available plans. This government website provides trained counselors, forms, a Medicare handbook and other resources that assist during the application process.
SHIBA helps Idaho seniors by offering free, unbiased Medicare information and assistance through workshops, personal counseling and group presentations available via the internet, webinars and on the phone. SHIBA is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living.
The Department of Health and Welfare helps seniors and individuals understand the available Medicare programs and services. The department also connects seniors with waiver programs and other insurance options that help pay for long-term care.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Idaho
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.
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 skilled nursing care.
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 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 acl.gov.
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 Idaho
Idaho has a full range of programs and services that help address a variety of needs. These programs are available for free or for a small fee and address everything from transportation for medical appointments to help choosing the right nursing home.
There are six Area Agencies on Aging in Idaho that help seniors live independently and address individual needs. These agencies connect seniors with programs and services and provide caregiver support. They also serve as advocates with government agencies to develop and implement new programs.
The long-term care ombudsman investigates complaints against long-term care communities and attempts to resolve these issues by mediation or through recommendations. The ombudsman also advocates for changes to improve the quality of life for seniors in residential care.
Idaho Legal Services is a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to low-income seniors throughout the state. Legal aid helps seniors escape elder abuse, assists in fighting homelessness and can provide help obtaining food, healthcare and other benefits. Volunteers also help prepare wills and help assign powers of attorney.
The Idaho Division of Veterans Services helps men and women who’ve served in the military address a variety of needs once they leave the service. Trained counselors provide assistance in locating healthcare, transition services, education, loans, financial assistance and monthly compensation. Assistance is also provided when applying for the Aid and Attendance Housing Benefit that provides reimbursement when paying for daily living activities.
The Senior Connection helps pair adults ages 65 and older with essential services designed to improve their quality of life. These services include congregate and delivered meals, home care, transportation, senior centers, and health and fitness. The organization also provides general information in regard to aging and can point individuals to local resources.
COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Idaho
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including coronavirus.idaho.gov. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/7/2022, 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.
Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?
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?
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
Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?
Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?
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
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?