Mississippi is home to 2.9 million residents, including 500,000 senior citizens, and nearly one-third of the population is aged 50 or older. As more people find a home in Mississippi, more residents will require support from nursing homes and other long-term care providers. Many people receive skilled nursing as they transition from hospitals or recover from surgeries. However, some individuals live in nursing homes for years.

Nursing homes use a team of nurses and certified nursing assistants to deliver 24-hour skilled care similar to what a hospital provides. These facilities are suitable for individuals who have multiple medical conditions or cannot live in a residential setting without extra help. Mississippi has just over 200 nursing homes, and nearly 16,000 individuals live in these facilities. Due to the level of care provided, nursing homes charge $7,057 to $7,148 per month for a semiprivate or private room. Average Mississippi rates are lower than the U.S. median, and many people receive help from Medicaid and other sources.

Families who want to learn more about their options will find information about the average cost of long-term care in this guide. It also includes details about financial assistance programs and local resources to help you take the next step.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

In 2020, Mississippi nursing homes charged $700 less the U.S. median, according to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. Skilled nursing in the state costs $7,057 per month, which is similar to nearby Tennessee. In Alabama, monthly rates are approximately $520 lower at $6,540. West of the Mississippi, skilled nursing facilities are even more affordable. Seniors in Arkansas pay $5,931, about $1,125 less per month, and Louisiana residents pay just $5,536, which represents a monthly saving of $1,520 compared to Mississippi and $2,220 when compared to the national average of $7,756.

$7057

Mississippi

$7756

The United States

$6540

Alabama

$5536

Louisiana

$5931

Arkansas

$7072

Tennessee

Average nursing home prices in Mississippi vary by a relatively small margin of just $1,200 per month, and rates in all major cities are moderately lower than the U.S. median. Seniors in Meridian, affiliated with the Tuscaloosa metropolitan area, enjoy the lowest average rates at $6,235 per month. Prices are approximately $500 more affordable than the state average in Tupelo and $669 lower than average in Jackson, the state’s capital and largest city. Nursing home prices are $250 higher than the state median in Olive Branch near the Tennessee line. Rates are also higher than average in Hattiesburg and Gulfport, where seniors pay $7,376 and $7,499 per month, respectively.

$6388

Jackson

$7376

Hattiesburg

$7499

Gulfport

$6540

Tupelo

$6235

Meridian

$7300

Olive Branch

Skilled nursing is the most expensive form of long-term care in Mississippi, with an average cost of over $7,000 a month. This option is suitable for individuals with complex medical needs and requires a high level of around-the-clock support. Seniors who need occasional help with specific essential tasks and daily activities may be good candidates for assisted living, which costs approximately $3,700 per month, or in-home care, costing about $3,430 to $3,530 per month. Adult day health programs are another option. They provide limited care in a group setting at the cost of $1,354 per month. Fortunately, the average price of all services is lower than the U.S. average.

$3432

In-Home Care

$3527

Home Health Care

$1354

Adult Day Care

$3713

Assisted Living Facility

$7057

Nursing Home Care

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

Most people do not pay for skilled nursing care entirely out-of-pocket. Rather, they utilize financial assistance programs to help cover the cost of nursing care. Of public financial assistance programs, Medicaid provides the most comprehensive coverage of nursing home care. But, not all seniors are eligible for Medicaid. And because each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines, eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. Below, we provide more information on Medicaid in Mississippi.

Mississippi’s Medicaid Program

Mississippi Medicaid uses targeted enrollment strategies consistent with federal guidelines to provide health insurance to 656,154 at-risk adults and children. Due to these policies, enrollment has changed very little since requirements were updated in 2013. However, Medicaid and CHIP cover about one in every four residents.

Although Mississippi’s Medicaid eligibility requirements may not be as generous as some states, the program covers 75% of the state’s 15,900 nursing home residents. And 97% of the state’s 209 nursing homes are certified by Medicare and Medicaid. This state-operated health insurance program also covers seniors who are looking for an alternative to institutional care.

Individuals who want to remain in their own homes or prefer the apartment-style accommodations that assisted living facilities provide may receive Medicaid coverage through the state’s Elderly and Disabled Waiver. In most cases, it only pays for personal care provided by qualified attendants, and it doesn’t cover room and board. Mississippi also offers programs for residents who are transitioning out of nursing homes and similar facilities.

Medicaid Eligibility in Mississippi

The income limit for regular Medicaid is $794 per month for individuals or $1,191 for couples. Seniors and disabled adults who require nursing home care receive expanded coverage. To qualify for Medicaid long-term care benefits, Mississippi residents must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant and:

  • Be at least aged 65 years old or disabled
  • Require a nursing home level of care
  • Have no more than $4,000 in nonexempt assets
  • Earn no more than $2,382 per month

Residents can apply for Medicaid in person, online, by mail or by calling (800) 421-2408. Applications for long-term care benefits are processed by regional offices and may require an interview.

Alternative Financial Assistance Options

  • Medicare: Medicare will cover the cost of one’s care in a skilled nursing facility for the first 20 days of their stay, and a portion of the costs up until day 100. After 100 days, the individual is responsible for all costs. Seniors must also have a “qualifying hospital stay” of at least 3 days prior to their admission to a nursing home in order to qualify for Medicare coverage.
  • Aid and Attendance: 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: 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. This type of funding can be especially useful for married couples when only one partner needs nursing care, as the other residents of the home may continue living there. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be covered for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost of nursing home care, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Mississippi

Seniors in Mississippi have access to various programs that can help them access long-term care and find resources in their community. Nonprofits, faith-based groups and federally funded service centers are great places to start.

ResourceContactService
Area Agencies on Aging(601) 359-4929Mississippi is home to 10 regional Area Agencies on Aging supported by state and federal funding administered by the Division of Aging and Adult Services. These service centers connect residents to information, assistance and referrals for home- and community-based services, including transportation, legal advice, case management, healthy aging programs and caregiver supports.
Mississippi Elder Law Project(800) 498-1804Seniors and low-income families have access to free legal advice and information through North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and the Mississippi Center for Legal Service. The state’s Elder Law Project works with Area Agencies on Aging to help seniors with advance directives, estate planning, housing, Medicare/Medicaid and long-term care placements. Residents can call the organization’s central intake hotline for assistance.
MS State Health Insurance Assistance Program(844) 822-4622Seniors who are turning age 65 or already have Medicare can learn more about their benefits and coverage options through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Administered with help from the state’s Area Agencies on Aging, SHIP trains volunteers to help seniors with plan comparisons, Extra Help benefits and issues related to bills, claims or appeals.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services(601) 359-04500Ombudsmen are specially trained advocates who provide informational services and represent the interests of nursing home residents. They visit local facilities, engage residents and process complaints regarding elder rights and the quality of care. For free, confidential assistance, residents can contact their AAA or locate an ombudsman in their county.
Mississippi Care Planning Council(800) 989-8137Sponsored by the National Care Planning Council, this informational service provides a comprehensive list of local and statewide elder care resources. It’s designed to help seniors understand their options, plan for their long-term care needs and find local providers or partners in their area. Besides offering a comprehensive directory of age-related resources, it publishes several consumer guides and articles about Medicare and other relevant topics.
Mississippi Division of Aging and Adult Services(601) 359-4915Managed by the Department of Human Services, DAAS sponsors various programs to support seniors, vulnerable adults and family caregivers. Mississippi Access to Care Centers connects residents to helpful resources and government benefits, including public funding for long-term care. It also helps with food stamps, utility bill assistance, delivered meals and other programs that benefit seniors statewide.
Methodist Senior Services(662) 844-8977Methodist Senior Services is a nonprofit organization and faith-based long-term care provider offering skilled nursing, in-home care and related services from 13 locations statewide. It sponsors outreach events, and its NextAge care navigation program provides information, resources and home-based services to help seniors and families embrace the next phase of life.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Mississippi

LicensingNursing homes, also called Institutions for the Aged or Infirm, are licensed by the Mississippi Department of Health, Division of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification. This agency licenses a variety of health care facilities and long-term care providers, including hospitals, and it certifies nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid.
StaffingMississippi has strict staffing standards based on the size of the facility and its capacity. Nursing homes must employ sufficient staff to provide 2.8 hours of daily direct care to each resident. Staff must include a full-time RN seven days a week, and an RN or LPN charge nurse must supervise each shift. This person may also serve as the mediation/treatment nurse at certain times of the day.
Staff TrainingMississippi requires certified nurse aides to complete a 75-hour training program that includes at least 16 hours of supervised clinical work experience. These standards are consistent with federal minimums established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Admission RestrictionsNursing homes must not admit residents who require a higher level of care than what the facility is certified to provide. Facilities may care for ventilator-dependent patients.
Care PlanningNew residents or their representatives must complete a written agreement prior to admission. Residents must complete a comprehensive physical exam, including a tuberculosis risk assessment, within 30 days of entry and annually every year thereafter.
Dietary and Nutrition ServicesNursing homes in Mississippi must provide at least three daily meals that comply with federal nutrition recommendations and account for each resident’s unique dietary requirements. Menus must be posted at least a week in advance, and meals should be served on a convenient schedule. Facilities must accommodate special diets and meet other requirements.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesSkilled nursing facilities must provide rehabilitative services, including occupational, speech and physical therapy, as directed by a physician or other qualified professional. Qualified therapists must provide such services.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesNursing homes must employ a licensed pharmacist who is responsible for keeping records and conducting other administrative duties. This professional must review each resident’s medication protocol monthly.
Resident ActivitiesMississippi requires nursing homes to employ a designated activities coordinator with appropriate training, work experience, or advisory support. Facilities must provide a variety of activities and entertainment options to accommodate residents’ varied interests. They must have designated activity spaces with adequate supplies and equipment, and weather-appropriate outdoor pursuits should be scheduled when possible.
Infection ControlThe state requires employees and residents to be evaluated for tuberculosis using an approved method. Facilities must comply with state and federal recommendations, including information from the CDC, to help prevent and manage this disease.
Medicaid CoverageMississippi Medicaid covers the cost of skilled nursing for qualified individuals. Residents must meet medical and financial criteria to qualify. Seniors and disabled adults who earn more than 135% of the Federal Poverty Level must require at least 31 days of continuous care.