With several top-ranked hospitals for seniors, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which U.S. News and World Report ranks sixth in the nation, Illinois has a number of excellent options for older adults who are looking for a place to retire. Of the 12,830,632 people who live in Illinois, 16.1% are seniors aged 65 and older.

The Medicaid and CHIP program in Illinois is quite robust, and the state recently expanded its coverage for lower-income adults to cover more seniors. As of July 2020, Illinois had 3,018,195 individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities serving over 100,000 residents, many of whom are seniors. Nursing homes are long-term care facilities that provide seniors with round-the-clock nursing care when their medical needs require constant attention. According to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Illinois pay an average of $6,235 a month for nursing home care in a semi-private room and $7,026 for a private room.

This guide will present important information about paying for nursing home care, how to protect a senior’s rights in a nursing home and what resources are available to seniors in Illinois who need long-term care.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Illinois

The cost of nursing home care in a semiprivate room in Illinois is $6,235, according to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In Wisconsin to the north, seniors pay an average of $8,684 a month for the same type of room. Indiana, its neighbor to the east, has an average cost of $7,133. To the southeast in Kentucky, the average is $7,330. Iowa has a closer cost with an average of $6,570. Missouri is the only neighboring state with a lower cost, averaging $5,080. All of these except for Wisconsin are lower than the national average of $7,756.




The United States











Within the state of Illinois, which has a statewide average cost for nursing home care of $6,235, costs can vary from one city to the next. In Chicago, the state’s largest metro area, seniors pay an average of $8,076, yet in Rockford near the Wisconsin border, they pay just $5,825. Champaign shares a similar cost at $5,901. Decatur seniors pay an average of $6,388, while those in the southern part of the state in Carbondale pay $5,232. In the state capital of Springfield, seniors pay $6,996 a month for nursing home care. In the Danville area on the east side of the state, the cost is slightly less at $6,874. 

















While a semiprivate room costs an average of $6,235 and private rooms cost an average of $7,026 in Illinois, seniors who do not need round-the-clock nursing care may choose another care type. For assisted living care in Illinois, the average monthly cost is $4,575. Seniors who live at home but need some basic home care pay $4,767 a month on average. For the services of a home health care professional, seniors should expect to pay around $4,862. Seniors who go to an adult day care facility pay around $1,636.


Nursing Home Semi-Private Room


Nursing Home Private Room


Assisted Living


Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Illinois?

There are over 3,364,500 residents in Illinois enrolled in Medicaid. The state’s Medicaid program covers the cost of skilled nursing care and pharmaceutical services, along with specialized rehabilitation therapies and dietary services. Beneficiaries are also covered for emergency dental care and any medically-related social services. 

In Illinois, there are over 700 nursing homes located throughout the state and all of them accept Medicaid. Nursing homes provide higher levels of care than other residential facilities, such as assisted living, including 24-hour medical supervision by a dedicated nursing staff. However, there are other programs that work alongside Medicaid, such as the HealthChoiceIllinois HCBS Waiver, that allows seniors to receive skilled nursing-level care in the setting of their choice, delaying nursing home placement. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Illinois

The Department of Human Services’s Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) handles applications for both Medicaid and Medicaid HCBS Waivers. Individuals can find a local FCRC office using their website. Medicaid applications can take up to three months to process and can take even longer if the applicant is denied and has to reapply. For this reason, it is important for individuals to determine their eligibility before applying.

Income limits for both single applicants and couples with one person applying are $1,073 per month with asset limits of $2,000. If both spouses apply, then the asset limit is $3,000. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Illinois

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant



Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)


$2,000 for applicant & $109,560 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)



In addition to financial eligibility, families and seniors must meet other requirements to qualify for Medicaid and affiliated programs, such as proof of residency. Other qualifying factors include:

  • Military discharge documentation, if applicable
  • Citizenship papers, such as birth certificates or green cards
  • Proof of Medicare coverage

How to Apply for Medicaid in Illinois

To apply for Medicaid, families and seniors can use Illinois’s Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) to apply online, or they can call the ABE Customer Care Center at (800) 843-6154. If individuals prefer to apply in person, they can use the locator tool to find the nearest office of the Illinois Department of Human Services. In addition to providing an online eligibility screening tool, the website also allows users to apply for additional benefits, such as SNAP benefits and the Medicare Savings Program (MSP). To prepare for the application process, loved ones and seniors will need to gather pertinent information to successfully complete their applications. 

Information You Will Need:

  • Proof of age, such as a birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship, if born outside the United States
  • Social Security card
  • Medicare cards
  • Bank statements from up to the last 60 days from the application date
  • Proof of earned and unearned incomes, including Social Security income
  • Copy of insurance insurance policies
  • VA discharge papers (DD 214), for veteran applicants
  • Pre-need burial contracts
  • Records of any real property that has been sold or transferred in the previous 60 months. 
  • Any other documentation that can prove their need for Medicaid coverage

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Illinois

While Medicaid can cover the cost of some medical care, there are resources that can help cover some of what Medicaid does not. The short list of resources below can help families and seniors navigate through application processes and help determine their eligibility, which can provide peace of mind while waiting to be approved for benefits.




Online Only

Provided by the National Council on Aging, loved ones and seniors can use the website to determine their eligibility for Medicaid. Dedicated to helping caregivers and seniors better understand Medicaid and HCBS Waivers, the website offers in-depth guides regarding the application process and the basics of Medicaid, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of public and private Medicaid Planners.

(866) 762-2237

Benefits.gov is the official website to find government benefits in the United States. The website is designed to be a one-stop shop for senior-friendly resources that can assist with the cost of living and medical needs. Using the Benefit Screening Tool (BEST), loved ones and seniors can determine their eligibility for benefits before applying. The website is also partnered with DisasterAssistance.gov, which offers benefits for those who have been affected by a natural disaster.

Online Only

Along with a full list of nursing homes throughout the state, Illinois Care Planning Council provides information about local Agencies on Aging and local providers that can be searched by category, such as financial consultations and caregiving management. The website also publishes articles featuring topics, ranging from saving money to long-term planning advice, that are provided by the National Care Planning Council.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Illinois?

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 Illinois

Loved ones who are looking for Medicare resources to assist with the cost of nursing home care may benefit from the services listed below. These resources can help families better understand health care coverage and other benefits that work with Medicare to further cover medical costs.




(800) 252-8966

Designed for individuals who are approaching the eligible age for Medicare, the Good Start Medicare Program promotes self-education, along with assisting seniors and their families determine their health care eligibility options. Exploring their options beforehand can help families and seniors anticipate any care costs that may not be covered by Medicare and avoid problematic situations, such as missing annual enrollment deadlines.

(800) 252-8966

For seniors over the age of 65 or for those who need assistance maintaining their Medicare benefits, SHIP counselors are specially trained to educate beneficiaries and determine their eligibility for financial assistance that can cover the cost of prescription medications and other out-of-pocket expenses. Counselors can also help with filing a claim and appealing claim denials.

(866) 767-2237

In addition to providing information about the basic Parts of Medicare, the website includes search tools to find Medicare-registered care providers and medical equipment suppliers. Users can create an account to manage their Medicare benefits, in addition to viewing enrollment status and past claims. Additional resources include how to avoid Medicare fraud and free Medicare-related publications.

(800) 794-6559

Benefits CheckUp is a free library of statewide and local resources ranging from financial assistance to legal services. Available in English and Spanish, the website allows users to search by category or by zip code. Loved ones can also find resources that can assist with planning for the future.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Illinois

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 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.

Reverse Mortgages

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 Illinois

Families may consider the following resources for their loved ones long-term care plans. The Illinois Department of Aging works with a network of long-term care ombudsmen and a legal team who can assist families with planning for the future and educating them about seniors’ rights as nursing home residents. Additionally, Area Agencies on Aging can help loved ones with processing applications for benefits that can cover the cost of care.




(800) 252-8966

From medication dispenser programs to community care programs, seniors and their caregivers have access to a plethora of programs that can improve their quality of life. With 13 offices located throughout the state, the Illinois Area Agencies on Aging can refer to local VA offices and other resources, such as legal aid. Agencies also work with a statewide network of long-term care ombudsmen and health care insurance counselors.

(312) 744-4016

Representatives of Chicago Seniors Services can assist seniors and caregivers with finding local care services and programs that can lower the cost of care. Congregate meals and meal home-delivery services programs, in addition to well-being check-ins performed by Human Service specialists, can give loved ones peace of mind. Residents of Chicago can also request brochures and other literature by-mail regarding senior services provided by the Department of Family & Support Services.

(800) 252-8966

Long-term care ombudsmen can assist seniors and their loved ones with resolving issues and complaints with their nursing home. These issues can range from involuntary transfers or discharges to medication mismanagement. The volunteer-based program is designed to protect seniors’ rights and ensure that the staff are following state and federal regulations. Ombudsmen can also help seniors’ loved ones research local nursing homes and how to find the right one for them.

(800) 252-8966

Serving seniors over the age of 60 with 21 offices located throughout the state, the legal team can assist seniors with civil cases regarding abuse and conflicts over social benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The team also provides estate planning and power of attorney services, as well as living will writing services.

(877) 222-8387

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs provides community-based care services for veterans, including 24/7 skilled nursing homes. Seniors can apply for nursing care in VA communities, as well as some non-VA facilities, allowing seniors to live near family and still use their benefits to cover the cost of care.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Illinois

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dph.illinois.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.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Illinois 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?

No (Conditions Apply)

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?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

*Not Applicable

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 the facility for non-medical reasons?


Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?


Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents


Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?


Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?


Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?


Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?


Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?


Are residents being tested for coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Illinois

Licensing Requirements
All long-term care facilities in Illinois are licensed through the Department of Public Health. Licenses are issued for two-year periods. Nursing homes must apply for licensure for all levels of care they choose to offer.
Staffing Requirements
An Illinois nursing home must have enough staff to give each resident at least 3.8 hours of skilled nursing care. A minimum of 25% of that time must come from licensed nurses, with 10% of the licensed nurse time coming from a registered nurse. Staffing ratios must be high enough to meet these time requirements.
Staff Training Requirements
Nursing home administrators must be licensed under the Nursing Home Administrators Licensing and Disciplinary act.Nurse Aides must be approved by the Department of Health’s Nurse Aide Registry, and they must also begin a Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program within 45 days of starting their jobs.Resident attendants must complete training programs that include feeding, hydration, personal hygiene, safety and resident rights units.
Admission Restrictions
A resident cannot be admitted to a facility if it is not able to meet their physical, mental or psychological needs at the facility or with the help of a qualified outside resource.
Care Planning Requirements
Every resident must have a personal care plan. These plans are made with the input of the resident or the resident's caretaker. The plan must contain measurable objectives and timetables and address the resident's physical, mental, and psychological well-being.
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
All long-term care facilities must have a full-time Director of Food Services who is either a dietitian or a dietetic service supervisor. If a dietitian is not on staff, the Director of Food Services must consult with one. Meals must follow the recommended dietary allowances of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council. Residents cannot go more than 14 hours without a meal being provided, and nourishing bedtime snacks are required. Menus must be planned at least one week in advance, be made available in the kitchen and be different throughout the week.
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Though nursing homes are not required to provide specialized rehabilitative services on-site, they are required to ensure residents receive these services if required by a physician, even if that means taking them off-site. These services must be provided or supervised by a qualified professional in the rehabilitative field.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Illinois nursing homes must work with a pharmacist and physician to create medication delivery protocols. Medications can only be administered by those who are licensed to do so, such as physicians, pharmacists, and licensed practical nurses with at least one pharmacology course and one year’s full-time supervised experience. The same person who prepares a dose must administer it.
Activities Requirements
Nursing homes in Illinois are required to provide ongoing activities programs to meet the psychosocial, mental and physical needs of each resident. The nursing home must have activity personnel, who must spend at least 45 minutes a week on activities planning and implementation per resident in the facility.
Infection Control Requirements
SNFs in Illinois must place residents suspected of communicable or contagious or infectious diseases in isolation. If the facility cannot control the spread of an infection, they must discharge the resident who has the illness. Illnesses must be reported to the local health department.
Medicaid Coverage
Illinois Medicaid is known as Aid to Aged Blind and Disabled Medical. AABD Medical covers seniors who are at or below the federal poverty level and have less than $2,000 in non-exempt resources. Qualified seniors can get help paying for long-term care with AABD Medical.

Nursing Homes Facilities in Illinois (174)