In Louisiana, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the senior population at 15.9% of all residents or nearly 740,000 seniors. The Department of Health and Human Services recently published a study which notes that 70% of seniors will need some form of long-term support service at some point. 

Nursing home care is the highest tier of care available and offers health care and other services around the clock. A nursing home is often the long-term care option of choice for seniors who need temporary rehabilitation services that might be difficult to deliver at home or assistance managing chronic illnesses for frail seniors who need regular visits from nurses and other health care providers. 

While skilled nursing facilities offer the highest levels of care, it also comes with the highest price tag. The average cost of a semi-private room is $5,536 per month while private rooms average $5,840.

This guide offers an in-depth look at the costs and assistance programs available for nursing home care in Louisiana, along with information about other resources that may be helpful to those seeking to delay nursing home placement. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Louisiana

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, Louisiana seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,536 per month for nursing home care. The national average is $7,756, which means Louisiana residents save approximately $2,200 per month. Seniors in neighbouring Texas have even more affordable options because the average cost is more than $500 less than in Louisiana. In Oklahoma, costs are comparable at $5,323, and in Arkansas, seniors pay nearly $400 more per month. In Mississippi, the cost of nursing home care is much more expensive at approximately $1,500 more per month.  

$5536

Louisiana

$7756

The United States

$5019

Texas

$5323

Oklahoma

$5931

Arkansas

$7057

Mississippi

Location within Louisiana can play an important role in determining costs for nursing home care. The closer a resident is to the Mississippi border, the more expensive care tends to be. Proximity to the coast also tends to mean higher costs. For example, Houma and New Orleans are two of the most expensive areas in the state, and both are in the eastern half of the state on the Gulf Coast. Houma seniors can expect to pay an average of $6,068 per month, and New Orleans is not far behind at $5,931. Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Lafayette are all near the state average at $5,536, $5,597 and $5,627, respectively. Seniors living in the western part of the state, particularly up near the northern border can expect to see some of the most affordable nursing home costs. In Monroe, the average is only $4,490, which is $1,046 less than the state average. In Hammond, costs are similar at $5,019 per month. 

$4490

Monroe

$5019

Hammond

$5536

Shreveport

$5597

Baton Rouge

$5627

Lafayette

$5880

Lake Charles

$5931

New Orleans

$6068

Houma

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, over 1,763,200 residents are enrolled in Medicaid, which can cover the costs of long-term care services such as living accommodations and medical equipment expenses. Applicants can also receive physician services in their long-term care facility, and prescription medications, in addition to various rehabilitation therapies, are available at no cost to them.  

Over 200 nursing homes are located throughout Louisiana. In a nursing home, seniors are supervised by medical professionals 24/7 and can receive help with assistive devices, including hearing aids and prosthetics, from skilled nurses. The state offers a Medicaid program for long-term care services, even if the applicant isn’t enrolled in any of Medicaid’s HCBS Waivers

Medicaid Eligibility in Louisiana

Medicaid applicants must meet the income requirements as described below and must need nursing-level care. Individuals can contact Medicaid Customer Service with any questions about the income and asset limits. Single applicants must have no more than $2,523 in income per month and $2,000 in assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage. The non-applicant is offered some financial protection with an asset limit of $137,400 due to the Spousal Impoverishment Act. For a couple, these figures increase to $5,046 of income per month and $3,000 in assets.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Louisiana

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$2,000

Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

$2,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)

$60,552

$3,000

When applicants meet the other requirements but are above the income and asset limits, they can spend down on necessities, such as medical expenses, to meet the income limits. Other qualifications include: 

  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of residence in Louisiana
  • Military discharge papers, if applicable

How to Apply for Medicaid in Louisiana

Individuals can apply for Medicaid in Louisiana online, over the phone or at a Medicaid office. When using the LA Medicaid Self-Service Portal, users can apply for benefits and view the status of their Medicaid coverage. Seniors and families can also apply over the phone by calling (888) 342-6207. Or they can find a local Medicaid office to apply in person.

Before applicants start their application, they should make sure they have all the appropriate documentation to prevent their benefits from being delayed. 

Information You Will Need:

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Medicare cards
  • Social Security card, or green card if born outside the United States
  • Bank statements for the 60 months previous to the application date
  • Proof of earned and unearned income, such as employment wages and stock dividends
  • Proof of pension, including a letter from the provider
  • Car registration and insurance
  • Proof of real property sold or transferred in the previous 60 months
  • VA discharge papers (DD 214) if applicant is a veteran
  • Pre-need burial contracts
  • Any other documents applicants may need to support their claims

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Louisiana

Families and seniors may find the Medicaid application process long and complicated. Luckily, several resources offer a plethora of information.

Resource

Contact

Service

(888) 342-6207

Long-term care services are provided by Medicaid, and families and seniors can apply for coverage of nursing care costs, including services in a home or residential setting, to delay nursing home placement. Applicants can benefit from the program even if they haven’t applied for any of the home- and community-based service Medicaid waivers. Applications are accepted online and in person. To apply over the phone, call the phone number provided.

(877) 340-9100

Overseen by the Louisiana Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs, the state’s Aging & Disability Resource Center offers a wide range of resources online through the website, LouisianaAnswers. Using LouisianaAnswers, families and seniors can find local and state programs, including long-term in-home support and other medical services. Resources include SenioRX, a pharmaceutical manufacturer patient-assistance program.

Online Only

Offered by the American Council on Aging, Medicaid Planning Assistance is a free service that helps applicants determine their eligibility before they start their application. Medicaid Planning Assistance has numerous guides about the qualification requirements for self-planners and the benefits of working with various types of professional Medicaid planners. Users can find guides about what to do when denied coverage and details about state HCBS waivers that can provide more medical services than regular Medicaid coverage.

(888) 342-6207

Individuals can find federal and state programs on this official website for government benefits in the United States, including financial aid benefits and various types of healthcare assistance. By using the SSA Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, users can determine if they qualify for Medicare and Medicaid as well as other benefits provided by the Social Security Administration.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Louisiana?

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 Louisiana

Medicare doesn’t cover all long-term care costs, especially nursing home care. Fortunately, the state has a few Medicare-specific programs and services to help low-income families cover those costs and assist seniors in finding the appropriate level of care.

Resource

Contact

Service

(866) 758-5035

A department of the state’s Department of Health, the Office of Aging and Adult Services offers local and statewide resources to help seniors and their loved ones explore their long-term care options and find low-cost or free care services for qualifying individuals. The OAAS processes admission requests for nursing homes across the state. Permanent supportive housing and adult protective services are also available. 

(800) 259-5300

Medicare SHIIP counselors can assist seniors and families gain a better understanding of their benefits and how to maintain them, including reporting fraudulent charges and appealing denied claims. Beneficiaries can learn about Medicare basics, how to read their monthly statements and where to look for supplement insurance for the gaps in Medicare coverage. Counselors have experience identifying seniors who qualify for financial assistance to cover medical costs, such as prescription medication and assistive devices. 

(888) 342-6207

To help low-income seniors with out-of-pocket medical expenses for Medicare, Congress initiated the Medicare Savings Program. Applicants must be currently enrolled in Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) to be eligible. To apply, seniors and loved ones can use the self-service Medicaid Portal or call the toll-free phone number. Additionally, individuals can download and print the PDF application to send in by fax or mail. They can also stop by their local Medicaid office to apply in person.

(800) 633-4227

The official Medicare website has a plethora of information, ranging from Medicare basics to the “Medicare & You” handbook. Individuals can create an online account to apply for coverage and manage their benefits. Using their accounts, beneficiaries can download claims and update their medical history and other personal data. The live chat feature lets applicants talk to an experienced Medicare professional anytime except on holidays. The help page also offers a list of professionals in each state and Medicare secondary payers.

(800) 794-6559

Provided by the American Council on Aging, BenefitsCheckUp can help seniors and their loved ones find state and federal benefits to assist with the cost of medical care as well as other costs of living. Qualifying individuals can apply for home- and community-based services in addition to Medicare savings programs, free wireless programs and free mobile phones.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Louisiana

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 Louisiana

In addition to trying to find ways to pay for nursing home care, families and seniors may find it difficult to compare local nursing homes to find the right placement. With the help of experienced representatives at an Area Agency on Aging or a certified long-term care ombudsman, families can learn about local nursing home services and ensure their loved one receives the appropriate level of care. These and other services are discussed in the table below.

Resource

Contact

Service

Multiple Locations

The 34 Area Agencies on Aging offices throughout the state help families find local programs and care services for seniors residing in various settings. Typical services include information and referral assistance and respite care and education services provided by the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Select Area Agencies on Aging offer home- and community-based services waivers that can delay nursing home placement.

(225) 342-9500

The DHH's Nursing Home Care in Louisiana ebook explains nursing home services covered by Medicaid. It also talks about what to do if individuals don't qualify for Medicaid, such as what to ask when looking at private-pay nursing homes. In addition to covering the state’s nursing home complaint procedure, the ebook also discusses nursing home residents’ personal rights.

(225) 342-9723

Ombudsmen advocate for the well-being and rights of seniors in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. Families and loved ones of seniors can reach out with complaints of neglect or abuse, lack of nutritious meals or medication mismanagement. Ombudsmen can address concerns about personal care and treatment options and can help families search for local nursing homes.

(800) 677-1116

ElderCare.gov provides a database of statewide resources for seniors. It offers the convenience of searching by zip code or a specific city, so seniors and families can find local programs and services that can improve the quality of life for aging adults. Health education programs are designed to promote awareness of cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and manage chronic illnesses, including diabetes.

Greater New Orleans: (504) 945-1531

Baton Rouge: (225) 490-0604

Lafayette: (337) 470-4500

Serving three cities in southern Louisiana, including the state capital, PACE services provide eligible applicants with personal care at home, assistance with acts of daily living and skilled nursing services to delay nursing home placement. Other services include physical rehabilitation and instruction in how to use prosthetics and other assistive devices. Meals and transportation services are also available.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Louisiana

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including ldh.la.gov). These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, 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 Louisiana Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

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?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Louisiana Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Louisiana Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Louisiana

NURSING HOME LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN LOUISIANA
Licensing Requirements
The Louisiana Department of Health, Health Standards Section issues all nursing home licenses throughout the state. To qualify, facilities must submit an annual application along with any required fees and pass an annual inspection. Licenses are granted for no more than 12 months from the date of issue.
Staffing Requirements
While there are no specific staff-to-patient ratios required, Louisiana nursing homes are required to have a full-time staff member as a facility administrator and enough staff on hand to meet the needs of all residents. Direct care staff must have updated personnel records that detail the level of education and experience relevant to the care provided. 
Staff Training Requirements
All staff must attend an initial orientation before providing direct care to residents. Each year, staff must complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education on topics specific to geriatric care. 
Admission Restrictions
In Louisiana, an open admission policy that avoids segregation based on race, color or national origin is required and must be followed. In the event that segregation occurs, the facility must document that it is not through a pattern of discriminatory practices.
Care Planning Requirements
Nursing home staff must create a comprehensive care plan for each new resident within 21 days of their admission. Care plans must provide detailed guidance on the scope of care needed by each new resident. When a resident's needs change, care plans should be updated quickly and accurately. 
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
Nursing homes must serve residents a nourishing and balanced diet each day. Three meals and occasional snacks are typically served, and residents with special dietary considerations must be offered palatable options that meet their requirements. To ensure all residents receive quality nutritional care, facilities must work with a registered dietitian for a minimum of 8 hours per month to create healthy, balanced menus for a variety of dietary preferences. 
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Any and all rehabilitation services must be provided under the guidance of the attending physician and by a credentialed provider. All rehabilitation services (speech, occupational and physical therapies) must be provided in a safe and accessible location. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Residents in a nursing home may self-administer medications as long as a multidisciplinary team determines it is safe for them to do so. In all other instances, nursing staff will prepare dosages according to written instructions from the prescribing doctor, after prescriptions are filled by a licensed pharmacy. 
Activities Requirements 
Nursing homes must provide access to regularly scheduled activities available for both individuals and groups, designed to engage residents and improve or maintain physical, mental or social health. Facilities must have an activities director on staff to coordinate and schedule activities. 
Infection Control Requirements 
Nursing homes must have an infection control committee that meets quarterly to update and assess policies and procedures designed to prevent disease transmission between residents. 
Medicaid Coverage
In Louisiana, seniors who meet the financial and medical criteria are eligible for Medicaid, and it pays for nursing home care when needed. Many nursing homes accept Medicaid payments.