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Nursing Homes in Maine

Maine is the northeasternmost state in the nation and home to over 1.3 million people, about one in five of whom are aged 65 and older. It’s a state member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and offers a variety of benefits to older adults, including world-class hospitals and nursing homes. Among Maine’s highest performing hospitals is the Maine Medical Center, which specializes in geriatrics. 

Nursing homes are residential care communities that provide skilled nursing services and supervision around the clock. On average, seniors in Maine pay $9,642 per month for semiprivate rooms. Private rooms are also available but are considerably costlier at $10,615 per month.

In this guide, we provide an overview of the cost of nursing home care in Maine, including prices in specific regions and how they compare to costs across state lines. We also summarize financial assistance options available to qualifying seniors, the laws governing nursing homes in the state and some resources available to Mainers. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Maine

According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the national average cost of nursing home care is $7,756 per month for semiprivate accommodations. In Maine, fees are approximately 24% higher at $9,642 per month. While this is high compared to the U.S. median, Maine is the least expensive state in the northeast. In New Hampshire, Maine’s only bordering state, monthly fees are $10,646, and in Vermont, seniors pay $9,779 per month. In New York, seniors pay $12,319 for this level of care, and in Massachusetts, costs are even higher at $12,623.

Nursing home fees vary across Maine, but all cities are more costly than the national average. In the Portland area, which is the most populous region in the state, fees exceed the state average by 6% at $10,220. In Bangor, which is situated in the northern region of the state, seniors pay $10,494, making it the most expensive city in Maine. In the Lewiston area, fees are the cheapest at $9,125. Across state lines, nursing homes in Manchester, New Hampshire, charge approximately $11,330 per month. In Burlington, Vermont, fees are a little lower at $10,737. In Boston, Massachusetts, seniors pay some of the highest nursing home fees in the nation at $13,383 per month. 







Manchester, NH


Burlington, VT


Boston, MA


Seniors in Maine have multiple care options to choose from. Nursing homes are the most expensive at $9,642 per month, but for seniors who need this level of care on a short-term or intermittent basis, other alternatives may be more appropriate and more affordable. Those who prefer to receive services in their own home pay $5,457 for home health care, which includes skilled nursing services along with personal care, light housekeeping and assistance with daily living activities. Home care is comparable but doesn’t include skilled nursing services and costs $5,339 per month. Assisted living costs $5,942 on a monthly basis, while adult day care is the cheapest option at $3,467.

In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Care


Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Maine?

Maine has a population of approximately 1,362,000 people, and more than 21% are 65 or older. Many of these seniors receive financial assistance when paying for long-term care. The state Medicaid program in Maine is referred to as MaineCare. It covers the complete cost of living in a nursing home, including room and board, meals and medical supplies and on-site physicians. As of July 2021, approximately 324,537 individuals have enrolled in MaineCare.

There are 93 nursing homes in the state. All these facilities accept Medicaid for payment of services. Also referred to as the Home and Community Benefits Waiver, the MaineCare Elderly and Adults With Disabilities Waiver helps nursing-home-qualified seniors pay for services like home care, medical alert systems, transportation and chore assistance.

Medicaid Eligibility in Maine

For MaineCare eligibility, a single applicant can have an income of up to $32,904 with up to $10,000 in assets. If only one person in a two-person household is applying, the same income limit applies but the asset limit for the non-applying person is $148,620. If both people in the household are applying, the income limit is $32,904 per person, with an asset limit of $15,000 if they share a room or $10,000 if they don’t share a room or are in different facilities.


Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)****Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$10,000
Two People1$32,904**$10,000$148,620
Two People 2$65,808***$15,000*****

*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. 

****The asset limit is technically $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. However, Maine allows an extra exemption of $8,000 in savings for an individual and $12,000 for a couple. 

*****The $15,000 asset limit is for couples sharing a room in the same facility. For those in separate rooms or different facilities, the asset limit is $10,000 each, for a total of $20,000.

The individual must also be a resident of the state, be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or legal alien and be in need of insurance assistance. They must also be over the age of 65 or have a permanent disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.

How to Apply for Medicaid in Maine

Individuals may apply for Medicaid online through My Maine Connection or by faxing an application to MaineCare at (207) 778-8429. Download the application from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and mail it to the Office for Family Independence, 114 Corn Shop Lane, Farmington, ME 04938 or email it to Seniors may also contact their local DHHS office and apply in person.

Information You Will Need:


  • Government-issued ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security and Medicare cards
  • Immigration or naturalization documents
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • Pay stubs from the last 4 weeks
  • Social Security award letter
  • Pension/retirement statement
  • Interest/dividend statements
  • Veterans/military benefits
  • Bank statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Property deeds
  • Car registration and proof of insurance
  • Copies of power of attorney, will and trust documentation
  • Any additional information to support to support the applicants claim

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Maine

Maine offers several free resources to assist seniors with the Medicaid application process. The following list includes the name and contact information and a brief description of what they offer.

RESOURCECONTACTSERVICES PROVIDED is a federal website that provides information on the available benefits throughout the state including details on what MaineCare is, who is eligible and recent contact information on how to apply.
Consumers for Affordable Health Care(800) 965-7476The Consumers for Affordable Health Care operates an insurance helpline that helps seniors understand their Medicaid limits and where to apply. The helpline also offers information on eligibility, supplemental private insurance, assistance with old medical bills and application denials.
Maine Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)(877) 353-3771There are five AAA offices in the state of Maine that provide information and assistance to seniors who need help applying for Medicaid. Trained counselors can help assess individual needs and provide help in choosing the best plan.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Maine?

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 Maine

Low-income seniors who need help understanding their available options for health insurance and paying for nursing home care may receive assistance through a variety of free support services. These services offer trained counselors who provide unbiased information and recommendations based on a senior’s individual needs.

Maine State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP)(800) 262-2232SHIP provides free and confidential insurance information through trained counselors who answer questions and help seniors understand their options. They also provide information about other health insurance issues and offer details about other programs in the state that help lower the cost of prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. This service is available to all seniors and those with disabilities who receive Medicare. SHIP receives funding through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the federal Medicare agency.
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly(800) 750-5353Maine Legal Services for the Elderly is a nonprofit organization that provides free information to seniors ages 60 and older on a variety of issues, including health insurance and public benefits. The organization's website has a catalog of information on Medicare topics, or seniors may contact the organization directly for one-on-one help with insurance concerns.
Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)(800) 262-2232SMP helps seniors on Medicare, their families and caregivers understand how to detect Medicare fraud and errors through outreach and education programs. The SMP holds regular workshops throughout the community to answer questions, provide information and address any concerns seniors have about their health insurance, including Medicare, Medicare Advantage and MaineCare.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Maine

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 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 Maine

Maine seniors can find free and low-cost resources on a variety of needs throughout the state. These programs and services can help improve the quality of life of individuals and make it easy to make informed decisions regarding long-term care.

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
Maine Area Agencies on AgingMaine's five Area Agencies on Aging provide information, assistance, referrals and advocacy to the state's elder population. These agencies connect older adults to valuable local resources, such as medical transportation, in-home care services and educational programs. Staff also offers health insurance counseling services to help seniors navigate the ins and outs of Medicare or commercial health care plans. All offices are open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Interpreters are available for non-English-speaking callers.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Maine 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
Maine 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.

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 Maine seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Maine Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)207-287-7513The Commodity Supplemental Food Program in Maine provides low-income adults age 60877-353-3771 with a monthly food package to enrich their diets. These packages, also called Senior Brown Bags, Commodity Boxes or Senior Boxes, include an array of nutritious foods. Recipients must meet income eligibility guidelines. The CSFP is delivered by Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in partnership with organizations across the state. For more information, seniors should contact the appropriate agency in their county.
Maine Good Shepherd Food Banks207-782-3554Nonprofits across Maine operate food pantries to provide fresh and nonperishable foods to seniors and other community members in need. Food pantries often play a significant role in directly distributing food to low-income residents. Some also provide personal and household items and pet foods and may have special programs to supply holiday-specific food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Food pantries operate on varying days and hours, and eligibility requirements may differ.
Maine Meals on WheelsMaine Meals on Wheels provides seniors with food assistance conveniently delivered to their doorsteps. Homebound adults aged 60 and above with mobility issues can access affordable, nutritious and ready-to-eat meals on a sliding fee scale. Residents receive healthy meals and companionship, with Meals on Wheels volunteers playing a crucial role in ensuring seniors' well-being by checking on their health and safety daily. In addition, seniors who have transportation can visit community sites for group meals and socializing.
Maine Nutrition Services Program877-353-3771Maine Nutrition Services Program acts for seniors challenged by the cost or efforts of accessing a balanced diet, those wanting to socialize and housebound seniors. Staff and volunteers serve meals at a variety of community dining locations. These communal meals are an opportunity to share in healthy dining, meet new friends and access professional assistance from nutritionists, disease management counselors and other health professionals. Home delivery meals are also provided.
Maine Senior FarmShare Program207-446-5550The Maine Senior FarmShare Program helps low-income seniors in the state access fresh fruits and vegetables that are an important part of a healthy diet. Recipients receive $50 worth of produce from a participating farm and can choose from over 100 authorized farms in the state. The program is open to Maine residents who are age 60+ (55+ for Native Americans). Participants must also meet annual income eligibility guidelines. MSFP operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)800-442-6003The Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, is open to eligible seniors and low-income families statewide. This monthly benefit helps seniors obtain the foods they need for good nutrition, but applicants must be residents of Maine and meet specific income and resource guidelines to qualify. Electronic benefits transfer cards are then loaded with benefits, which can be used at most supermarkets and grocery stores statewide for qualifying food and beverage purchases.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Maine CITE Program207-621-3195The Maine Department of Education's Maine CITE Program makes assistive technology available to Maine seniors. Free loaner services offer short-term use of medical devices. Seniors can try out equipment before buying it to see if it works for them.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Maine 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
Maryland Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program866-796-2463Seniors may qualify for discounted prescriptions through the Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program. DEL provides up to 80% off the cost of some prescription medications. Recipients may have a $2 copayment. Call the Pharmacy Help Desk at (866) 796-2463 for assistance.

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 Maine have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
MaineHousing's Home Accessibility and Repair Program800-452-4668MaineHousing's Home Accessibility and Repair Program issues grants to low-income homeowners who can't afford necessary home repairs and improvements. Grants may cover modifications to help disabled persons or those experiencing physical barriers to living at home to remain in their residences.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Maine seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly800-750-5353Maine Legal Services for the Elderly provides those aged 60 and over with free high-quality legal services.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Maine 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
Maine 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 Maine 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
Maine State Property Tax Deferral Program207-624-5600The State Property Tax Deferral Program allows older homeowners to defer paying property taxes until they move, sell, or pass away. Seniors must submit a Property Tax Deferral Application with their local municipal assessor between January 1 and April 1.

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. Maine retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Maine Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)877-544-3271HEAP helps low-income seniors pay for heating costs. HEAP applicants may also apply for the Low-Income Assistance Program, which pays for electricity costs by providing a credit on the recipient's electric bill.

Veteran's Services

Maine 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
Maine VA Benefits and Health CareMaine's VA Benefits and Health Care services are designed to help seniors aged 65 and older access critical services for their well-being. Elderly veterans have various options across the state to receive care and support for their benefits, such as the VA Medical Center in Augusta and the Togus Regional Office. Seniors can access programs like the Disability Housing Grant for Veterans to make home modifications for service-connected disabilities.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Maine

Licensing Requirements Nursing homes in Maine are licensed through the Department of Health and Human Services. The license issued by the Department must specify the name and location of the facility, the name of the administrator, the maximum number of licensed beds and the effective dates of the license. If the structure itself or number of licensed beds changes, or if the facility undergoes new ownership, it must obtain a new license. 
Staffing Requirements Every nursing home must have a director of nursing who oversees day-to-day operations and enforces a high standard of care. There must be at least one licensed nurse on-site at all times, depending on the number of beds. Minimum staff-to-resident ratios include 1:5 during the day shift, 1:10 during the evening shift and 1:15 during the overnight shift.
Staff Training Requirements The director of nursing must be qualified based on their education, training and experience in nursing administration and gerontology. Unlicensed care staff must complete a training program within four months of their hire date. 
Admission Restrictions Nursing homes are allowed to decline admitting a resident if they determine they lack the qualified staff to meet the individual's needs. 
Care Planning Requirements Care plans must be developed by multidisciplinary teams comprised of a physician, registered nurse, the staff caring for the resident and the resident’s family or legal representative. The resident’s needs must be assessed within 14 days of their admission, and a comprehensive care plan must be developed within seven days of the assessment. It must be available to staff members during all shifts and updated annually or whenever a resident experiences significant changes in their condition or abilities.
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements Nursing homes must employ a dietitian or have a written agreement with a licensed dietician to provide consultation. Residents must receive three nourishing, balanced meals and snacks daily, according to recommended daily allowances. 
Specialized Rehabilitative Services Based on residents’ comprehensive care plans, nursing homes must provide or obtain specialized therapy services. The facilities must have a designated space and necessary equipment for providing therapy services.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services Each facility must have a state-licensed pharmacist as a consultant to review residents’ drug regimens and evaluate staff performance in administering medications. All medications must be kept in their original containers, and containers must be labeled according to state and federal guidelines. Facilities are expected to develop their own procedures for obtaining, administering, controlling and disposing of medications in accordance with state guidelines. 
Activities RequirementsNursing homes must have ongoing activity programs to meet residents’ physical, emotional, social and cognitive needs according to their comprehensive assessments. Facilities must have dedicated activities coordinators and activities staff members and have a calendar that's easily readable by residents. Activities may be conducted in living, recreational and dining areas or outside, and transportation must be provided for off-site activities.
Infection Control RequirementsFacilities are required to establish programs to prevent, control and investigate infections. This includes identifying residents who are at risk of infection, reporting infections as necessary, enforcing basic hygiene requirements and hiring or contracting with an infection preventionist.
Medicaid Coverage MaineCare is the state Medicaid program that covers nursing home services for those who meet medical and financial requirements. Some skilled nursing services may be provided in a senior’s home through the state's Elderly and Adults with Disabilities Waiver program.

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