Minnesota is home to 5,639,632 residents, and seniors aged 65 and older make up 16.3% of the state’s population. The number of older adults living in the state is expected to increase in the coming years, and by 2030, one in five Minnesotans will be a senior. 

Of the state’s 919,260 elders, over 23,000 now reside in nursing homes. These highly specialized facilities provide 24/7 skilled nursing care for those with care needs that can’t be supported in a less-restrictive setting. Minnesota seniors who require long-term care may qualify for benefits through Minnesota’s Medicaid program, which covers some nursing home costs for eligible seniors. Statewide, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $12,025 per month, while a semiprivate room costs an average of $11,026. This guide covers the basics of nursing home care in Minnesota, including long-term care rates, Medicaid coverage for nursing home care and alternative financing sources. There’s also a summary of the state regulations for nursing homes and a list of free community resources for those who require skilled nursing care. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Minnesota

At a monthly average cost of $11,026, nursing home care rates in Minnesota are high in comparison to the national average and rates in most neighboring states. Nationwide, nursing home rates run about $7,756 per month, $3,270 below rates in Minnesota. Rates are also much lower in neighboring Wisconsin ($8,684), Iowa ($6,570) and South Dakota ($7,011). Of the four states bordering Minnesota, only North Dakota has higher nursing home costs at $12,167. 




The United States






South Dakota


North Dakota

Within Minnesota, nursing home rates range from $9,730 per month in Rochester up to a high of $12,767 in St. Cloud. Costs are just above the state average in Minneapolis ($11,285) and Mankato ($11,482), while nursing home care is somewhat more affordable in Duluth, where monthly rates run about $10,437. 










St. Cloud

Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, provide the highest level of long-term care for those who require 24/7 medical supervision and support, and that’s why nursing home care is the most expensive care option. Seniors who don’t require the type of medical care that’s available in a nursing home may find that they can safely reside in an assisted living facility, and this type of residential care costs an average of $4,283 per month in Minnesota. Seniors who need adult day health care can expect to pay about $1,979 per month, while 44 hours of weekly homemaker services, also known as home care, cost $5,863 per month. Home health aide services, which include homemaker services plus limited medical care, costs an average of $6,292 per month. 


Nursing Home Care


Adult Day Health Care


Assisted Living


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, there are over 1,213,900 Medicaid recipients. For nursing home residents, Medicaid coverage includes room and board and any medically related social services, as well as medications dispensed by the facility. The program can also cover some Medicare out-of-pocket costs. 

There are over 350 nursing homes throughout the state, with all but a few accepting Medicaid. Whether residents need assistance exploring their long-term care options or applying for state medical assistance, the MnCHOICES Assessment can determine the appropriate care type and help find ways to pay for long-term care. Alternatively, qualifying individuals can apply for various HCBS waivers, including the Elderly Waiver, to receive nursing-level care in a noninstitutionalized setting, such as assisted living. The Alternative Care (AC) programs support individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Medicaid Eligibility in Minnesota

The 2022 income and asset limits for single applicants are $1,074 per month and $3,000, respectively. These figures increase to $1,453 and $6,000 if both individuals are applying for Medicaid. However, if one person in a two-person household applies, the asset limit is $3,000 for the applicant and $137,400 for the non-applicant. The higher figure is established to financially protect the spouse who is not in long-term care. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Minnesota

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant



Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)


$3,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)



Keep in mind there are more requirements than just meeting the income limit. Individuals must reside within the state in which they are applying for benefits and prove they’re in need of nursing-level care. Individuals who don’t meet the income requirement may be able to “spend down” on necessities to qualify for Medicaid coverage. Other requirements include:

  • Proof of American citizenship
  • Any relevant military documents 
  • Property deeds

How To Apply for Medicaid in Minnesota

Seniors and their loved ones can apply for Medicaid online or in person. Those who prefer to apply for Medicaid in person can go to their local tribal or county office. To apply online, Minnesota residents can use MNSure. Paper applications can be printed out in a PDF form or residents can call (651) 431-2670 to request an application be sent by mail. Individuals who need assistance applying for Medicaid can call (855) 366-7873. Before applicants begin the process, they should prepare all the necessary documentation. 

Information You Will Need:

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of citizenship (e.g., green card) if born outside the United States
  • Medicare card
  • Proof of earned and unearned income, including Social Security benefits
  • Documents verifying pensions, including a letter from the provider
  • Copies of life insurance policies
  • Proof of real property sold or transferred within the previous 60 months (from the application date)
  • Proof of car registration and insurance
  • VA discharge papers (DD 214) for veteran applicants
  • Copies of trusts and wills, as well as powers of attorney

  • Any other documents that the applicant thinks will validate their claim

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Minnesota

Applying for and maintaining Medicaid benefits can seem like a lot to handle. Fortunately, several organizations educate beneficiaries about their coverage options and finding low-cost services or financial assistance programs.




Online Only

Provided by the American Council on Aging, Medicaid Planning Assistance can help families and seniors better understand what Medicaid covers and find ways to supplement their coverage to limit their out-of-pocket medical expenses.The website offers a guide to the different types of Medicaid planners available plus information for self-planners.

(651) 431-2500

With seven offices located throughout the state, Minnesota’s Area Agencies on Aging provide information and referral assistance for local services and programs designed to improve the quality of life of aging residents. Representatives can help seniors and loved ones find ways to pay for long-term care, as well as explore their long-term care options, including ways to avoid nursing home placement.

(800) 366-5411

As the official website for public benefits provided by the U.S. Government, Benefits.gov gives users the ability to apply for financial assistance programs and services that work alongside Medicaid and Medicare coverage. The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) can determine if an individual qualifies for benefits before they apply.

(651) 539-2099 

MNSure certified Navigators (case managers) specialize in helping seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in the state Medicaid program. Unlike state-certified Medicare counselors, navigators can help you apply for coverage, but they can't provide advice about insurance plans.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Minnesota?

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 Minnesota

When trying to find resources to cover the cost of skilled nursing care, it can be disappointing to learn that Medicare doesn’t cover 100% of long-term care expenses. Luckily, there are services dedicated to helping qualifying families find financial assistance programs or free personal care services that work along with Medicare.  




(800) 333-2433

Medicare counselors with Minnesota Senior LinkAge Line provide free and unbiased health insurance advice to beneficiaries and their families. The program can help seniors better understand their health insurance coverage and assist them with maintaining their benefits. Counselors have experience with filing claims for care and appealing claim denials. Financial assistance may be available for qualifying seniors to cover out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications and medical assistive devices.

(800) 794-6559

Partnered with the American Council on Aging, BenefitsCheckUp is a website offering a convenient way to search for local and statewide benefits. Available in English and Spanish, the website allows users to search using their location or for the specific resources they need. After answering a quick questionnaire, families and seniors can view programs and services ranging from Medicare savings programs to tax relief programs.

(800) 633-4227

The official Medicare website allows beneficiaries to maintain their benefits using an online account, where they can view the status of claims and update their health history and prescription drug information. Users can search for Medicare-registered care providers and medical equipment suppliers. The website also has a library of information regarding Medicare basics and supplemental coverage options.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Minnesota

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 Minnesota

Families may find it difficult to find free or affordable care services for their aging loved ones. However, a few agencies in Minnesota can provide aid to qualifying families. Additionally, for seniors who already reside in nursing homes, experienced professionals, such as a long-term care ombudsman, can educate them regarding their personal rights as a resident.




(800) 333-2433

Senior LinkAge Line provides information and referral assistance with topics ranging from Medicare to aging in place. Representatives can help families plan for the future, explore long-term care options or manage their finances. Qualifying seniors can reach out to representatives to find affordable housing, including adult foster care and assisted living. The website also offers a library of resources for caregivers and seniors.

(651) 431-2555 or (800) 657-3591

Ombudsmen advocate for the rights of seniors residing in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. In addition to staying up-to-date with state and federal regulations, ombudsmen investigate cases involving lack of quality care or medication mismanagement. Families and seniors can also contact an ombudsman for assistance with their search for local nursing homes. 

(651) 440-9312

The Minnesota Elder Justice Center offers free consultations and legal services for seniors residing in long-term facilities who have been victims of abuse or neglect. In addition to supporting and representing victims of elder abuse, the organization helps seniors obtain necessary services and protective orders. Referrals for other legal system providers are also available. 

(800) 546-5838

The Minnesota Department of Veterans’ Affairs offers resources for veterans’ and their families, including financial assistance programs. Along with helping veterans make VA health care claims, representatives can help seniors explore their long-term care options, which includes Veterans Homes. Using the website, veterans can request their discharge documents and chat with a representative for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

(800) 657-3629

MinnesotaCare is a health care program that assists low-income families who do not qualify for Medicaid. The program covers routine doctor visits and hospital stays, as well as some prescription medications. While most members pay a premium, some individuals qualify for no premiums, such as those who have income that's less than 35% of the federal poverty limit.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Minnesota

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus. 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 Minnesota Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

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


Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?


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


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


Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?


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


Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Minnesota Communities

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


Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?


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 Minnesota Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?


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?


Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?


Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?


Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Minnesota

Licensing Requirements
Nursing homes in Minnesota must have a valid state-issued license in order to operate. Every facility that provides care to five or more individuals must hold a valid state-issued nursing home license. 
Staffing Requirements
Every nursing home in Minnesota must have an on-site administrator licensed by the Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators. The administrator's name and their designated substitute must be posted in a public location within the facility. At least one responsible caregiver aged 21 or older must be on-site, awake and on-duty at all times. Shifts may not exceed 12 hours in length, and there must be one designated shift leader at all times with keys that open all locking doors in the facility. 
Staff Training Requirements
All staff who have direct contact with residents must complete pre-employment and ongoing in-service training that includes an overview of resident rights, nursing home regulations and safety procedures. Direct care staff must work under the supervision of a licensed medical professional, such as a physician or registered nurse. 
Admission Restrictions
Nursing homes may only admit and retain residents with care needs that cannot be safely met in a less-restrictive setting. Residents may only be discharged from a nursing home if the facility closes or cannot support their needs; the resident owes rent; they no longer need 24/7 skilled nursing care; and/or the resident poses a threat to other residents within the facility. 
Care Planning Requirements
Within seven days of admission, a comprehensive care plan must be prepared for each resident that outlines details such as their medical history, cultural and religious preferences and care needs. This care plan needs to include input from the attending physician, a registered nurse, the resident and/or their legal guardian, and it should be reviewed at least once every three months or more frequently if the resident experiences significant health changes. 
Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirements
Nursing homes are required to provide residents with three daily meals plus snacks. Meals must be approved by a licensed dietician, and menus must be posted in a public area within the facility. Within reason, nursing homes should strive to accommodate dietary preferences. 
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Nursing homes may offer specialized rehab services such as speech and language therapy, physical therapy and behavioral services. If a facility does not have qualified staff to deliver rehab services, the nursing home must have a written agreement in place to provide rehab services through another facility, company or agency. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Medication can only be dispensed by staff who are qualified to do so, such as licensed practical and registered nurses and caregivers who have completed an approved medication management training program. 
Activities Requirements 
Nursing homes need to provide residents with daily age-appropriate recreational activities 
Infection Control Requirements 
Every nursing home needs to develop and implement a written safety plan that includes infection control steps to prevent the transmission of communicable illnesses and diseases among residents and staff. 
Medicaid Coverage
Minnesota Medicaid, known as Medical Assistance, helps cover nursing home costs for beneficiaries who require the level of care provided in a skilled nursing facility.