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.

$8669

Idaho

$7756

The United States

$10114

Oregon

$9581

Washington

$7665

Montana

$6388

Utah

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.

$9125

Boise

$9064

Idaho Falls

$8638

Coeur d’Alene

$8836

Twin Falls

$8213

Pocatello

$7254

Lewiston

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.

$4481

In-Home Care

$4481

Home Health Care

$2297

Adult Day Care

$3675

Assisted Living Facility

$8669

Nursing Home Care

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Idaho

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 Idaho.

Idaho’s Medicaid Program

When seniors require around-the-clock medical care and supervision, a nursing home may be the right choice. Many seniors in Idaho will use Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care. In September of 2020, Idaho reported 357,346 people receiving Medicaid and CHIP coverage, and many of those are seniors. Of the state’s 82 nursing homes, 75 are able to accept Medicaid as a form of payment. Idaho nursing homes are able to accommodate 6,188 seniors, and there were 5,962 beds in Medicaid-approved facilities as of January of 2021.

Idaho’s Medicaid program offers care to elderly or disabled adults who may need long-term care help. When nursing home care is medically necessary, the program will cover the cost for qualified seniors. Those seeking an alternative to nursing home admission may qualify for Idaho Medicaid’s Home and Community-Based Services program or the Idaho Home Choice Waiver to receive care services at home.

Medicaid Eligibility in Idaho

To qualify for Medicaid coverage of their long-term care costs in a nursing home or through home and community-based services, seniors in Idaho must meet income and asset guidelines. As of March 2020, individuals could have a maximum income of $2,402 a month and have no more than $2,000 in nonexempt assets to qualify. Seniors also must:

  • Live in Idaho
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible legal immigrant
  • Be over the age of 65

Seniors can apply for Medicaid coverage for long-term care by calling (877) 456-1233, by completing an application online or in person at their nearest Department of Health and Welfare field office.

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 Idaho

The state of Idaho has a number of services and programs available to help its aging population. Seniors and their families can see alternatives below to help them remain at home or find the right care in a nursing home, depending on their needs. Most of these programs are available at little or no cost to seniors.

ResourceContact Service
Chore Home Maintenance & Repair Assistance(208) 334-3833Chore Home Maintenance & Repair Assistance provides help for seniors who choose to remain at home. Through the program, seniors can get help installing accessible features in their home, performing seasonal yard work, managing heavy cleaning tasks and tackling minor household maintenance.
Idaho Area Agencies on Aging(208) 334-3833Idaho Area Agencies on Aging are local organizations that provide services to seniors to help them get the right care for their needs. This includes advocacy, referrals and services to help seniors who choose to age at home do so safely. The state has five AAAs serving different regions of the state.
Idaho Long-Term Care Ombudsman(208) 334-3833The Idaho Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides advocacy services to residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about neglect or abuse and provides consultations for seniors and their families who are concerned about their care. At least one time per quarter, an Ombudsman visits each long-term care facility to inspect it for quality. To get help from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, seniors can contact their local Area Agency on Aging.
Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisors(800) 247-4422SHIBA provides seniors with information and advice about Medicare and other health insurance. Through SHIBA, seniors and their families can get unbiased information about Medicare benefits and options, with advice on how to choose the right plan and utilize it well. SHIBA offices are located in Pocatello, Coeur d’Alene and Boise.
Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.(208) 746-7541Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., is a nonprofit law firm that provides legal advice to low-income individuals throughout the state, including Idaho seniors. Through this service, seniors can get legal advice and help on issues such as credit problems, discrimination, nursing home concerns, long-term health care, estate planning, guardianship, health benefits, abuse and Social Security benefits. The organization offers a Senior Legal Advice Line that helps seniors get fast answers to their legal questions.
Idaho Commission on Aging(800) 926-2588The Idaho Commission on Aging provides a single point of contact for seniors and their families seeking aging-related services through its Aging and Disability Resource Center. The ADRC can provide information about community-based services that help seniors age at home, as well as advocacy and referral services to those seniors who choose to pursue long-term care. 
Idaho Division of Veterans Services(208) 780-1300The Idaho Division of Veterans Services helps senior veterans access the services they’re eligible to receive through their service. This can include assistance applying for VA medical care, disability compensation, pensions and enhanced pension programs such as Aid and Attendance, which may help pay for long-term care services.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Idaho

Licensing RequirementsNursing homes must be licensed with the Department of Health and Welfare. Nursing homes must apply for their licenses at least three months before their opening date. Renewals must be applied for within 30 days of expiration.
Staffing RequirementsAll nursing homes in Idaho must employ a director of nursing services. They also must have a supervising nurse and a charge nurse on staff. If the average occupancy is 90 or more residents, then the facility must have a registered nurse on duty at all times.Additionally, facilities in Idaho must have enough staff to provide 2.4 hours of nursing care per resident each day. At least two nursing staff members must be on duty at all times, as well. Only licensed nursing professionals can cover these required nursing hours.
Staff Training RequirementsNursing home staff must meet the minimum training requirements for their required licenses, but there are no stated staff training requirements for nursing home facilities.
Admission RestrictionsFacilities must have written admission requirements and policies. They may only admit residents they have the capacity to care for appropriately.
Care Planning RequirementsA director of nursing services must create a written, individualized care plan for each resident of the nursing home. The care plan must be based on the needs of the resident, and regular reviews are required to ensure it stays up to date.
Dietary and Nutritional Services RequirementsThe Department of Health and Welfare publishes an approved diet manual that nursing homes must follow. All menus must be prepared at least one week prior to serving the food, and they must be kept on file for at least 30 days. Menus must provide varied, adequate food to meet the dietary needs of residents and should account for seasonal changes.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesPhysical and occupational therapy must be provided on-site at skilled nursing facilities. Other types of specialized rehabilitative services may be met through outside care providers, but facilities should make arrangements to have these services provided as required for residents in their care. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesOnly licensed nurses can dispense medications and only with a written order from a doctor. Before giving a medication, the nurse must identify the resident and ensure the medication matches the resident. All medications must be stored safely and labeled with the name of the person they’re prescribed for. SNFs must work with a licensed pharmacist to provide medications for patients.
Activities RequirementsSkilled nursing facilities must plan funding for their activities programs, and this funding can’t be required from residents. Facilities must also provide services to meet the social and emotional needs of residents.
Infection Control RequirementsFacilities must maintain at least one isolation room with private restroom facilities to safely care for residents who have communicable diseases.
Medicaid CoverageNursing home care may be covered by Idaho Medicaid provided the facility complies with Medicare requirements. Individuals must meet the state’s income and asset limits.