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.  

$9642

Maine

$7756

The United States

$10646

New Hampshire

$9779

Vermont

$12623

Massachusetts

$12319

New York

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.  

$10494

Bangor

$9125

Lewiston

$10220

Portland

$11330

Manchester, NH

$10737

Burlington, VT

$13383

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.  

$5339

In-Home Care

$5457

Home Health Care

$3467

Adult Day Care

$5942

Assisted Living Facility

$9642

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 $30,276 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 $137,400. If both people in the household are applying, the income limit is $30,276 per person, with an asset limit of $15,000 if they share a room or $10,000 if they don’t share a room.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Maine

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$10,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$30,276 for applicant

$10,000 for applicant and $137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household

(Both People Applying)

$30,276 per spouse

$15,000 if sharing a room and $10,000 if in separate rooms

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 Farmington.DHHS@Maine.gov. 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.

Resource

Contact

Service

(800) 977-6740

Benefits.gov 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.

(800) 965-7476

The 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.

(877) 353-3771

There 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.

Resource

Contact

Service

(800) 262-2232

SHIP 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.

(800) 750-5353

Maine 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.

(800) 262-2232

SMP 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.

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 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.

Resource

Contact

Service

(207) 831-9893

The Maine Community Action Partnership provides support and services that help seniors remain in their homes and delay nursing home placement for as long as possible. These services include transportation, bill pay assistance, home weatherization, home-delivered meals and companionship.

(207) 430-6035

The Bureau of Veterans’ Services helps men and women who’ve served in the military understand and apply for the available benefits and compensation they are entitled to. These benefits include health and dental care, education, job assistance, counseling and financial assistance. Local offices can also help veterans sign up to receive the Aid and Attendance Housebound Allowance benefit that helps pay for home and community-based services in long-term care.

(800) 499-0229

The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a nonprofit agency that serves as an advocate for seniors in nursing homes and other long-term care. The ombudsmen investigate complaints of abuse, fraud, neglect and exploitation and work to find a resolution. The agency also answers questions about services and educates seniors, their caregivers, loved ones and long-term care facilities about senior rights.

(800) 624-8404

The Maine Council for Elder Abuse is a community of more than 80 organizations and individuals who work together to identify, report and resolve complaints of abuse against seniors. The council has educational material on its site that helps seniors and their loved ones understand the different forms of abuse and how to get help.

(207) 232-7847

The Maine Senior Guide is an online searchable resource database that provides information useful to seniors. The site has easy-to-use drop-down menus that make it simple to search by category and then by region or town to see all the available local resources. The database covers everything from independent living to legal assistance.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Maine

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including maine.gov/dhhs. 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 Maine 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

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

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

Yes

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 Maine 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 Maine 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 Maine

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 Requirements
Nursing 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 Requirements
Facilities 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.