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Nursing Homes in Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is a haven for older adults with its mild Southern climate, senior-friendly tax rates and strong health care system. Kentucky is home to more than 755,000 seniors aged 65 or older who account for approximately 17% of the population. Some studies suggest that about half of these individuals will require skilled nursing care at some point in their lives. Although home care has become a popular alternative in recent decades, skilled nursing is still a vital part of the long-term care industry.

Kentucky is home to licensed nursing facilities that provide intermediate or custodial care as well as skilled nursing facilities that provide subacute medical care, extended support and rehabilitation. These services include physical, occupational and speech therapy. The state has approximately 290 licensed nursing homes with more than 27,000 beds. Seniors in Kentucky pay $7,330 per month for a semiprivate room and $7,939 for private accommodations, and these rates are slightly lower than the national averages.

Families who are considering nursing home placement for a loved one will find more information about average costs in this guide. It also explores Medicaid long-term care benefits, financial assistance programs, licensing requirements and statewide resources that may help with or delay the need for nursing home care.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Kentucky

At $7,330 per month, the median nursing home rate in Kentucky is slightly lower than the national average of $7,756 and similar to neighboring states in the Ohio Valley. According to Genworth Financial, Illinois residents pay about $6,235 per month for nursing home care, which represents a monthly savings of over $1,000. In West Virginia, skilled nursing facilities cost $4,000 more per month. However, prices in other states are more moderate. Seniors in Ohio save almost $200 a month compared to those in Kentucky, and Tennessee residents pay over $250 less per month for skilled nursing home care.

Nursing home prices across the Bluegrass State vary by just over $1,000 per month. The highest average rate of $8,273 per month is found in Bowling Green. Louisville and Lexington are two of the most affordable cities, with average rates of $7,148 and $7,178, respectively. At $7,604, nursing home care in Elizabethtown is more expensive than the state median but falls short of the national average. Owensboro is moderately expensive with an average rate of $7,787, which is higher than the state and national averages.









Bowling Green


Kentucky seniors who require nursing home care can expect to pay $7,330 a month for a semiprivate room. Private accommodations cost about $600 more per month. However, there are more affordable alternatives. Seniors who want to remain in the community can turn to home health agencies, which charge $4,052 for homemaker services or $4,147 for home health care services that provide added medical care. Assisted living is competitively priced at $3,699, which is about 65% less than the cost of skilled nursing care, while adult day care programs cost just $1,603 per month, although they provide limited nonmedical support in a group setting.

Home care


Home health care


Adult day health care


Assisted living


Nursing home (semiprivate room)


Nursing home (private room)


Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Kentucky?

As of July 2021, close to 1.5 million individuals were enrolled in Kentucky’s Medicaid program. Seniors eligible for Medicaid who require nursing home care can expect the program to cover room and board and a variety of services, including housekeeping, medication management, medical equipment and supplies and some physician visits.

The state has 288 nursing homes that offer over 26,000 beds. All of these facilities accept Medicaid. To cover additional costs or for seniors who prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible, Kentucky’s Home and Community Based (HCB) waiver program pays for additional services like home-delivered meals, respite care, attendant care and adult day health. The waiver is available to seniors 65 and older or those with a disability.

Medicaid Eligibility in Kentucky

Seniors who apply for Medicaid in Kentucky must meet specific income requirements to be considered eligible. Any income the applicant receives is counted, including Social Security, retirement benefits, dividend payments, unemployment, disability, alimony, veterans’ benefits and employment wages. The total of all sources must not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In Kentucky, this is $32,904 per applicant per year. Assets must also not exceed $2,000 per applicant.

When only one spouse is applying for Medicaid benefits, the spouse who remains at home may be entitled to an additional Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance under the spousal impoverishment rule which ensures the non-applicant spouse has enough money to maintain bills.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Kentucky

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$2,000
Two People1$32,904**$2,000$148,620
Two People 2$65,808***$4,000

*All monthly income except for a $40 personal needs allowance and Medicare premiums must be paid to the facility as a share of cost. There may also be a monthly needs allowance for a non-applicant spouse.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

***Income is limited to $2,742 per month per spouse.

Additional Medicaid requirements include:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Resident of Kentucky
  • In need of health care/ insurance assistance
  • Ages 65 and older
  • Be responsible for a child 18 years of age or younger
  • Have a disability or a family member with a disability


How to Apply for Medicaid in Kentucky

Seniors may apply for Medicaid online at Kynect Benefits or in person at a local Department for Community Based Services (DCBS). Applications may also be taken over the phone through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) at (855) 306-8959, or seniors may download the appropriate forms, complete them and mail them to Division of Policy and Operations (DMS), 275 E. Main St. 6W-D, Frankfort, KY 40621.

Information You Will Need


  • Proof of citizenship
  • Government-issued ID
  • Social Security number
  • Employer and income verification for the past 60 days
  • Retirement account information
  • Health and life insurance policy numbers
  • Bank statements for the past 60 days
  • Proof of ownership of property, including deeds and titles
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Proof of any property that’s been sold of transfered in the last 60 days
  • Any additional documentation that might support an individuals’ claim


Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Kentucky

Kentucky Medicaid supports helps seniors find out about what type of coverage is available for an individual’s circumstance. Most counselors also can check eligibility on additional or supplemental health coverage to cover more of the costs of care.

ResourceContactServices is provided by the federal government as a one-stop site for available government assistance programs. The websites offers basic information on Medicaid, including eligibility, how to apply and contact information. It also offers information on what Medicaid covers.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services(800) 372-2973The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services operates several hotlines on available services and health information, including information about Medicaid and the available insurance choices throughout the state. It also operates the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment program (KI-HIPP) that helps pay for supplemental insurance.
Northern Kentucky Council on Aging(859) 283-1885The Northern Kentucky Council on Aging serves as the advisory board for programs and services for seniors. For individuals, the council offers insurance counseling, including information on Medicaid, Medicare and supplemental insurance.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Kentucky?

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 Kentucky

Seniors in need of nursing home care may be considering the different financial options for paying for services. Medicaid can cover some of the cost of care and private insurance may offers some relief, but Medicare may help fill in the gaps. These programs can help answer questions about Medicare, including how to apply and the available plan options.

Kentucky State Health Insurance Assistance Plan (SHIP)(855) 306-8959Kentucky State Health Insurance provides an insurance agent or a Commonwealth of Kentucky kynector can help seniors apply for and qualify for Medicare. Trained representatives also give information on additional state benefits and answer questions concerning applications. is the official federal website for Medicare coverage. The site provides virtual chat services that make it possible to speak to a live agent 24/7, seven days a week. Search for plan basics by state or browse the database for information on claims and billing, complaints, general health and health conditions, assistance with Medicare options and information on supplemental insurance.
Social Security AdministrationSeniors can go to the Social Security website, visit their local Social Security office, or call 1-800-772-1213 for help finding out how Medicare can help them pay for the costs associated with Nursing Home care and for help applying.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Kentucky

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.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at 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 MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf 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) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at 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 Kentucky

There are many resources in Kentucky that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Area Agencies on AgingKentucky's Area Agencies on Aging are nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of older adults and caregivers. They provide programs and services that promote independent living and help to enhance seniors' quality of life. These include care planning, transportation services, nutrition programs and caregiver support. They also offer information, referrals and benefits counseling. Kentucky's AAAs play a crucial role in advocating for seniors' rights and ensuring they have access to the resources they need to age with dignity.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Kentucky provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Kentucky seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Home and Community Based Waiver844-784-5614Kentucky's Home and Community Based (HCB) waiver helps seniors live at home or in the community, delaying or preventing placement in a nursing home. It supports this goal through services such as personal care assistance, home-delivered meals, minor home adaptation, adult day health care and homemaker services.
Kentucky Transitions877-564-0330Another service under the waiver program for seniors is Kentucky Transitions. It helps seniors currently living in a nursing home or institution move into their own homes or communities. Once applicants have moved from the nursing facility and live on their own, they qualify for an HCB waiver for further assistance.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Kentucky seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Feeding Kentucky502-699-2656Seniors needing food assistance who can travel independently or have access to transportation may benefit from community food pantries. Generally operated by churches and nonprofit organizations, food pantries provide fresh and nonperishable food that seniors can use to create meals at home. Kentucky boasts numerous food pantries throughout the state. Each program operates under its own eligibility requirements and has varying hours of operation, so call ahead to confirm when to come and what kind of information to bring.
Kentucky Emergency Feeding Assistance Program (EFAP)800-327-6568The Kentucky Emergency Feeding Assistance Program supplements the diets of low-income seniors with healthy foods available at no cost. By meeting federally established income guidelines, seniors in Kentucky ages 60 and older can receive foods that enable them to create nutritious meals at home. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture administers this program, making nutritious foods available to local agencies for distribution to seniors in need.
Kentucky Meals on WheelsThe Kentucky Meals on Wheels service is part of the federally-funded Senior Nutrition Program in the state. Accepted Kentuckians aged 60 or older can get hot meals delivered to their homes. A home visit is first done to determine eligibility, such as that the resident is ill and homebound. A senior can apply to be a part of the program or can get nominated by a caregiver or loved one.
Kentucky Nutrition Program for the Elderly502-564-6930The Kentucky Nutrition Program for the Elderly provides one congregate or home-delivered meal per day to each Kentucky resident aged 60 and older. To qualify for home-delivered meals, seniors must be 60 or older, be unable to secure a congregate meal due to disability or Illness and have no one in the home to prepare them a nutritious meal regularly. Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living administer this program statewide.
Kentucky Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)502-782-9238The Kentucky Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides seniors ages 60 and older with $50 checks to purchase fresh, unprocessed and locally grown foods. Seniors can use this money to purchase Kentucky-grown fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut herbs. These checks are redeemable at authorized farmers' markets throughout the state. To be eligible, seniors must have an income less than or equal to 185% of the federal poverty level.
Kentucky Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)855-306-8959The Kentucky Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds food purchases for low-income seniors. Individuals must be U.S. citizens, meet income eligibility requirements and have no more than $3,500 in resources, including cash and bank account assets. Qualifying seniors receive an electronic benefit transfer card, which they can use at a grocery store to purchase eligible foods.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Kentucky collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network Coordinating Center800-327-5287Project CARAT promotes the reuse of assistive technology (AT) and durable medical equipment (DME) by transitioning unused AT and DME to individuals who need them at no cost.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Kentucky seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program800-633-8100The Kentucky Department for Public Health Division of Prevention and Quality Improvement (DPQI), Health Care Access Branch administers the Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program (KPAP). This free service helps qualified seniors obtain free or reduced-cost prescription drugs through assistance programs offered by drug manufacturers, discount pharmacy programs and discount drug programs.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Kentucky have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants859-224-7353Seniors may qualify for a home repair grant of up to $10,000 in their lifetime. They must use their grant funds to pay for repairs and improvements that remove health or safety hazards.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Kentucky help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Kentucky resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Homestead Exemption502-564-4581Qualifying Kentucky homeowners may be eligible for a homestead exemption deducted from their home and property's assessed value.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Kentucky retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)800-456-3452LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps cover the home heating and cooling costs of eligible low income seniors and other Kentucky households. The Kentucky LIHEAP program initially uses annual funds to cover heating costs, then covers cooling costs if there are still funds available.

Veteran's Services

Kentucky retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Kentucky VA Benefits and Health CareThe Department of Veterans Affairs provides specialized medical care for senior vets throughout Kentucky. Primary VA Medical Centers, outpatient care sites and administrative buildings are located in Lexington, Fort Thomas, Louisville and other major cities. Memory care, skilled nursing and in-home medical and home care services may be financially subsidized for veterans over 65. Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs includes a total of 23 accredited benefits representatives who serve veterans in all 120 counties statewide.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Kentucky

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Washington
Licensing RequirementsThe Kentucky Office of the Inspector General licenses, inspects and regulates intermediate care facilities, nursing homes and nursing facilities in the state.
Staffing RequirementsFacilities must have a charge nurse on-site for each shift. Qualified charge nurses include RNs or LPNs with an on-call RN for backup. Facilities must employ a sufficient number of nurses, nurse aides and orderlies to meet residents' needs at all times.
Staff Training RequirementsTo satisfy federal minimum requirements, nurse aides in Kentucky must complete a 75-hour training program that includes at least 16 hours of clinical experience.
Admission RestrictionsResidents are admitted by physician referral, and services are only available to individuals who have a variety of medical conditions and require continuous medical care below inpatient hospital service levels. A facility may not admit a person if it cannot adequately meet his or her needs.
Care Planning RequirementsSupervising nurses are responsible for ensuring that each resident has an adequate, up-to-date plan of care on file. Nursing facilities must receive a comprehensive medical evaluation dated within five days of admission, or they may obtain a copy of the resident's medical records within 48 hours of admission.
Dietary and Nutrition Services RequirementsNursing facility administrators must appoint a full-time culinary director who is responsible for food service operations and works at least 35 hours each week. Residents must be offered three daily meals plus snacks. Facilities that use an outside food service contractor must employ a qualified dietitian to oversee operations.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesFacilities may provide physician-ordered rehabilitative services, including physical, speech and occupational therapy. Such activities should be overseen by a multidisciplinary team of licensed medical professionals and therapists. Services may be provided by in-house professionals or contractors.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesNursing facilities must supply and administer all physician-ordered medications. Medication plans must be reviewed by an RN or pharmacist at least monthly, and facilities must employ a pharmacist on a full-time, part-time or contractual basis.
Activities RequirementsAdministrators must provide a variety of meaningful social and recreational activities as well as reading materials, games and other items that are needed for leisure pursuits and pastimes. Activities should also be available to residents who are unable to leave their rooms.
Infection Control RequirementsNursing homes must have written policies and procedures for preventing and managing infectious diseases that are consistent with CDC guidelines. They must provide infection control training for employees, and they are prohibited from admitting patients who have infectious diseases.
Medicaid CoverageKentucky Medicaid's nursing facility (NF) program covers room, board, medications and medical services provided in participating nursing homes. Individuals must require a nursing home level of care and meet income and asset limits to qualify.

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