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

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Mississippi?

More than 714,000 people in Mississippi are enrolled in Medicaid, which covers various types of long-term care, including nursing home care, for eligible individuals in the state. Nursing home care coverage includes room and board, as well as additional services provided by the long-term care facility’s team. Medicaid also covers office visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and prescription drugs. As a result, this program offers both long-term care and health care that income-eligible seniors in Mississippi may need.

Mississippi is home to more than 200 nursing homes, and they all accept Medicaid. These facilities provide around-the-clock care, including medical care, for seniors. The Mississippi Office of Long-Term Care oversees the Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program, which provides home-based and community resources to Medicaid-eligible seniors who would otherwise require long-term care. This program can provide necessary skilled nursing care to seniors who would prefer to live at home. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Mississippi

In order to qualify for Medicaid in Mississippi, individuals must meet a number of eligibility requirements, including meeting income limits established by the state. In a one-person household or two-person household with only one person applying for Medicaid, the applicant must earn an income no greater than $30,276 per year and have no more than $4,000 in assets. In a two-person household with both individuals applying for Medicaid, the maximum monthly income is $60,552 with a $8,000 asset limit. The Spousal Impoverishment Act ensures that the spouse who is not Medicaid-eligible does not lose their assets. This act gives the spouse an asset limit of $137,400.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Mississippi

Income Limits*
Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$4,000

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person applying)

$30,276

$4,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$60,552

$8,000

* Per month

Additionally, individuals must meet other non-financial eligibility requirements to participate in Mississippi’s Medicaid program. Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a resident of the United States
  • Be a resident of Mississippi
  • Be a legal immigrant
  • Meet one of the following criteria: age 65 or older, responsible for a child under age 18, blind, or have a disability or a family member with a disability

How to Apply for Medicaid in Mississippi

Seniors have several ways to apply for Medicaid in Mississippi. Those with Internet access can apply online through the state’s ACCESS MS web portal. They can also choose to apply in person at one of 30 regional offices serving counties throughout the state. Applications can also be printed, completed and faxed to the Division of Medicaid at (601) 576-4164 or mailed to 550 East High Street, Suite 1000, Jackson, MS, 39201. To request an application by mail or have any questions answered, contact the Office of Eligibility at (800) 421-2408.

Information You Will Need

  • Social Security number
  • Document number (if a legal immigrant)
  • Date of birth 
  • Recent pay stubs or W-2 to verify income
  • Current health insurance policy numbers
  • Job-related health insurance information if applicable

Additional Medicaid Support and Resources in Mississippi

The following list includes helpful resources for individuals in Mississippi interested in learning more about Medicaid and long-term care. These resources can provide support, answer questions and help you determine if a loved one is eligible for Medicaid.

Resource
Contact
Service

(800) 421-2408

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid oversees the state's Medicaid program and ensures that eligible individuals can access quality health care. Contact this organization to learn more about available programs and determine eligibility for your loved one.

(601) 981-1511

The Central Mississippi Area Agency on Aging serves seniors aged 60 and older. This organization oversees the Information, Assistance and Referral Program that helps seniors and their families assess their care needs and find the right solution for these needs. Mississippi has 10 Area Agencies on Aging for every region.

Online only

The American Council on Aging helps families determine their loved one's Medicaid eligibility before applying. The organization's website includes helpful resources like state-specific Medicaid information, FAQs on Medicaid and long-term care, and detailed explanations on financial eligibility based on income and assets.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Mississippi?

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.

While Medicare won’t cover the costs of nursing home care in the long term, it can help families initially as they transition their loved one into around-the-clock care. Access these resources to help you navigate the process of finding long-term care, get your questions answered and ensure that you’re comfortable with the care being provided to the senior in your life.

Resource
Contact
Service

(844) 822-4622

Mississippi's State Health Insurance Program is administered by volunteers at the state's 10 Area Agencies on Aging. Volunteers help seniors and their families compare policies, organize paperwork, and manage claims and appeals. They can also answer any insurance questions the family may have. To contact this organization, reach out to the local Agency on Aging in your area.

(601) 359-3569

Families just beginning their search for insurance options for seniors over age 65 can start at the Mississippi Insurance Department. This state-run department offers a wealth of information about health insurance options, including types of insurance, disclosure requirements and ways to purchase health insurance. 

(800) 633-4227

Medicare.gov is a federal website that serves as a valuable resource for all information about Medicare. You can learn about Medicare, evaluate its costs, and find health and drug plans for you. You can even live chat or call a representative to get all of your questions answered.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

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 Mississippi

Through government-run organizations, nonprofits and faith-based groups, Mississippi has ample resources for seniors. If you’re looking for support as you search for long-term care for a senior in Mississippi, consider reaching out to these organizations that can provide the information and support you need.

Resource
Contact
Support

(800) 498-1804

North Mississippi Rural Legal Services runs the Elder Law Project, which is designed to provide free legal support to seniors throughout the state. The organization works in partnership with the state's Area Agencies on Aging. Services include representing seniors in civil legal matters, distributing information about estate planning and advising seniors on their health insurance options.

(800) 989-8137

A division of the National Care Planning Council, the Mississippi Care Planning Council offers a variety of eldercare services for seniors. The organization's website is a comprehensive resource on a variety of senior care topics, including long-term care facilities, disability transportation, estate planning and geriatric health care.

(601) 359-4915

The Mississippi Division of Adult and Aging Services provides advocacy, protection and education for seniors and their families. The organization oversees specialized services for seniors, runs a family caregiver support program and manages the state's 10 Area Agencies on Aging. 

(601) 359-4500

The state's long-term care ombudsman program focuses on protecting seniors living in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. The organization investigates any complaints or concerns about care provided in one of these facilities, ensuring that seniors are protected in long-term care. The ombudsman program strives to advocate for seniors' rights while improving their quality of life.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Mississippi

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including msdh.ms.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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Mississippi
Licensing
Nursing 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.
Staffing
Mississippi 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 Training
Mississippi 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 Restrictions
Nursing 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 Planning
New 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 Services
Nursing 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 Services
Skilled 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 Services
Nursing 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 Activities
Mississippi 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 Control
The 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 Coverage
Mississippi 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.