Nursing Homes in New Jersey
The Garden State is home to more than 8.8 million residents, including nearly 1.5 million senior citizens aged 65 or older. New Jersey has a lot to offer retirees, with its metropolitan attractions, beautiful beaches and diverse natural areas. Unfortunately, long-term care costs are well above the national average. Residents in the state’s 361 nursing homes pay $11,254 per month for a semiprivate room on average, and private accommodations cost approximately $600 more.
According to Genworth Financial, New Jersey is one of the 10 most expensive states for nursing home care. This affects more than 42,400 nursing home residents statewide as well as families who want to ensure that their loved ones have access to medically supervised care. For many individuals, nursing homes provide an intermediate option between in-home care and assisted living or hospitalization when round-the-clock monitoring is required. If you’re considering nursing home care for a loved one, this guide features information about average costs, financial assistance programs and free resources available across New Jersey.
The Cost of Nursing Home Care in New Jersey
At $11,254 per month, average nursing home rates in New Jersey are 45% higher than the U.S. median of $7,756. Despite this significant cost premium, prices are competitive when compared to neighboring states in the Northeast. In Pennsylvania, seniors pay $1,216 less per month. However, in New York and Delaware, average prices exceed $12,300, and nursing homes in Connecticut charge $1,670 more per month, which makes it 15% more expensive than New Jersey and 67% higher than the national average.
The average cost of skilled nursing facilities across New Jersey is $11,254 per month, although rates are slightly lower in the state’s largest cities. Atlantic City clocks in at a wallet-friendly $9,277 per month, which is almost $2,000 lower than the state median. In Ocean City, average rates creep up to $10,555, followed by Trenton at $10,783. While seniors in Vineland pay slightly more, at $10,950 per month, local rates are still $300 below the state median. Skilled nursing in New Jersey is also more affordable than other major cities in the Northeast, including New York and Philadelphia.
New York City, NY
Skilled nursing facilities serve individuals who need around-the-clock care and intensive assistance with daily activities. Due to the level of staff required, nursing homes in New Jersey cost $4,600 more per month than assisted living facilities that cater to seniors who are in good health and living independently. Families may also consider residential care from a home health agency, or they may enroll their relative in a community-based adult day program that offers recreational activities and supervision. The cost of these services is $4,957 and $1,901 per month, respectively. However, seniors may also have other living expenses, and these options don’t include around-the-clock care.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in New Jersey?
More than 2 million New Jersey residents are enrolled in Medicaid, an increase of almost 54% since the state expanded the program’s eligibility back in 2014. If a senior requires nursing home care following a hospital stay, the Medicaid program will cover all of the cost of that care for the first 20 days of a patient’s stay, and part of the cost for up to 100 days. After this, however, seniors are required to cover the cost of care themselves.
New Jersey has 362 nursing home facilities, of which the majority accept Medicare. These facilities collectively house more than 41,000 patients. These facilities provide seniors with 24-hour skilled nursing care, helping seniors maintain a high quality of life and delaying full-time hospital placement. Nursing home fees in New Jersey are higher than the national average. Fortunately, there are programs to support seniors who require skilled nursing care. NJ Medicaid includes the Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports program which offers expanded eligibility for seniors who require a greater degree of care.
Medicaid Eligibility in New Jersey
The Medicaid program in New Jersey is also known as NJ FamilyCare. It is open to residents who have an income that is at or lower than 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate. Individuals are permitted to have no more than $2,000 worth of assets. The family home does not count as an asset, and there are exceptions given for any assets required to cover the care of a spouse. Seniors can apply for Medicaid by contacting their nearest County Board of Social Services.
The Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports program has wider eligibility. Disabled adults and seniors who require assistance with at least three of the activities of daily living may qualify for support under this program. Seniors can apply for support at NJ FamilyCare online.
The income and asset requirements for Medicaid depend on whether the applicant is a single person or part of a couple. For single applicants, the income limit is set at $2,523 per month and $2,000 of assets. For a married couple applying together, the income limit is currently $5,046, with $3,000 of assets. In the case of a married couple where only one person is applying, the applicant is treated as a single person and the non-applicant is permitted to have up to $137,400 in assets under the Spousal Impoverishment Act.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in New Jersey
|Income Limits Per Year||Asset Limits|
|Married (One Spouse Applying)||$30,276||$2,000 for applicant, $137,400 for non-applicant|
|Married (Both Spouses Applying)||$60,552||$3,000|
Seniors must be American citizens or legal residents, and residents of New Jersey in order to apply for Medicaid.
How to Apply for Medicaid in New Jersey
There are several ways to apply for Medicaid in New Jersey. Seniors can start the application process over the phone by calling (800) 701-0710. Alternatively, they can complete a printed application form, visit their local welfare agency, or complete the process online. Applicants will need to provide proof of eligibility, and it’s a good idea to have the required documentation on hand before applying. Incomplete applications or ones with missing documentation may be rejected or take longer to process.
Information You Will Need:
- Proof of citizenship (for applicants born outside of the USA)
- Proof of age (e.g. birth certificate, passport or driving license)
- Proof of income (e.g. 1099s)
- Bank statements
- Proof of pension income
- VA Discharge papers (for veterans)
- Car registration titles and insurance documentation
- Property deeds for the family home
- Deeds for other owned properties
- Copies of any current power of attorney
- Life insurance documents
The above is not an exhaustive list and seniors may be asked to provide additional documentation. If you cannot provide some of the documentation on this list, contact your local welfare agency for advice and a list of alternative options.
Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in New Jersey
Seniors in New Jersey have access to a variety of resources to help them navigate the Medicaid process and understand the options available to them.
|Aging & Disability Resource Connection||(877) 222-3737||Aging and Disability Resource Connection offers a variety of services to seniors, including information about local service providers and help with navigating the various long-term care options available in the state. The ADRC is run by the Department of Human Services and connects seniors with other organizations that can provide direct support for a range of age-related issues.|
|Benefits.gov||(800) 356-156||This federal website offers basic information about the New Jersey Medicaid program. It lists the income and asset allowances and provides information about the application process, as well as a simple eligibility checker. The site also offers useful contact details for those who wish to seek personalized advice.|
|New Jersey Dept. of Human Services Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services||(800) 633-4227||This state organization offers information about Medicaid and the Managed Long Term Services and Supports Program. It provides information about how to choose a managed care provider and can also offer information about the Medicaid system and how seniors can apply.|
Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in New Jersey?
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:
- A semiprivate room
- 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 New Jersey
Families in New Jersey may be worried about the cost of long-term nursing home care in the state. Medicare can assist with the cost of nursing home care in the short term, but many seniors will need to find other benefits or support options. These organizations provide seniors with impartial advice to help them access the care they need.
|SHIP||(800) 792-8820||The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides free, impartial advice to people who have questions about the Medicare program in New Jersey. Trained advisors can assist with a variety of Medicare-related issues and will provide impartial advice about service providers, the application process, and how to make claims. SHIP advisors are not paid commission and are not affiliated with any specific insurance providers.|
|New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well||(609) 421-0206||The New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well serves older adults across the state. It provides a variety of services and resources for New Jersey seniors and is particularly focused on the issue of Economic Security, working to help seniors offset the cost of living in the state through a range of supportive programs delivered by County Offices on Aging.|
|Medicare.gov||(800) 633-4227||This federal website provides information about Medicare services. In addition to having a vast knowledge bank, it also has a live chat feature that is staffed by trained agents. The chat is open 24 hours a day, and seniors can request a call back from an agent if their chat is disconnected or interrupted.|
Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in New Jersey
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.
|Name||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 New Jersey
The transition to long-term care can be a confusing and difficult one for many families. The following organizations provide seniors and their loved ones with support and information that can help them understand their options and make the process of moving to a nursing home simpler for everyone involved.
|Veterans Memorial Homes||(609) 530-6400||There are three Veterans Memorial Homes in New Jersey. These homes are operated by the Division of Veterans Services and provide skilled long-term care to eligible veterans, surviving spouses and Gold Star Parents. The Veterans Memorial Homes in New Jersey give priority admission to seniors who have been residents of New Jersey for at least two years prior to their application. Fees are based on the resident's ability to pay.|
|Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving||(877) 222-3737||The Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving is a state-funded program that provides those aged 60 and over who require nursing home levels of care the support they need to live within the community. The goal of the program is to help seniors delay nursing home placement and remain relatively independent in their own homes. There are income and asset limits for participation in the program, however, these are more flexible than the limits for Medicare programs.|
|Personal Assistance Service Program||(877) 354-9944||The Personal Assistance Service Program is a self-directed care program that offers up to 40 hours per week of home care assistance including help with cooking, cleaning, grooming and dressing. The program is aimed at those who have physical disabilities but are otherwise able to be engaged in the community. Program participants can choose their care providers and the schedule of their care.|
|Program of All-Inclusive Care for The Elderly||(850) 792-8820||PACE is a Medicare program aimed at frail adults aged 55 and over. It provides a comprehensive set of services including both medical and social care. An interdisciplinary care team works with the seniors to ensure all of their needs are being met. There are 6 PACE agencies covering New Jersey and seniors must live in one of the covered zip codes to receive care under the program.|
|New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program||(609) 943-3479||The New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program supports those who reside in long-term care facilities and their loved ones. It receives complaints about long-term care facilities and helps families resolve issues or complaints they have with the quality of care in senior living communities and nursing home facilities. Volunteer advocates offer advice and advocate for the rights of facility residents.|
Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Jersey
|Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Jersey|
|Licensing Requirements||Skilled nursing facilities in New Jersey are licensed by the Health Systems Branch of the New Jersey Department of Health. The state also licenses nurse aides, personal care assistants and nursing home administrators. The Health Facilities, Survey and Field Operations division inspects Medicaid-approved health care facilities and investigates complaints, and the Certificate of Need and Licensing department ensures that facilities follow state and federal regulations.|
|Staffing Requirements||Starting on February 1, 2021, nursing homes must employ one CNA per eight residents during the day. Minimums decrease to one CNA per 10 residents during the weekend and one CNA for every 14 residents at night.|
|Staff Training Requirements||Nursing homes in New Jersey employ a combination of registered and licensed practical nurses as well as certified nursing assistants. CNAs must complete a 90-hour state-approved training program, which exceeds the federally mandated 75-hour minimum. Administrators must complete a 100-hour training and ethics course in addition to meeting other requirements.|
|Admission Restrictions||Nursing homes may only admit residents if the facility can provide safe, adequate care. If denied admission, prospective residents must receive a letter stating the reason.|
|Care Planning Requirements||Skilled nursing facilities must perform a comprehensive assessment within 14 days of a resident's admission. New residents must be evaluated by a qualified medical professional around the time of the initial evaluation. Reassessments should be performed as directed or more frequently following a hospital admission or significant change in health.|
|Dietary and Nutritional Services Requirement||Nursing homes must employ a full-time food service director who is a qualified dietitian or who receives advice from a professional nutritionist. The state has minimum requirements regarding meal timing, staff involvement and nutritional advisory services for residents.|
|Specialized Rehabilitative Services||Nursing facilities may provide physical, occupational and speech therapy via licensed staff as directed by a physician or advanced nurse practitioner. Evaluations must be performed within 72 hours of a doctor's order during weekdays.|
|Medication and Pharmaceutical Services||Skilled nursing facilities must employ an in-house pharmacist or consultant who can store, dispense and label prescribed medications as required by state and federal regulations. Pharmacy services must be available 24 hours a day. Qualified staff members can administer medications as directed, and self-administration is permitted.|
|Activities Requirements||Nursing homes must provide at least 45 minutes of direct-staff activities per resident per week. Facilities must organize well-rounded social and recreational events seven days a week, including at least two evenings. A schedule must be posted weekly, and religious or spiritual services must be included. The state also has requirements for activities directors and recreational spaces.|
|Infection Control Requirements||Nursing homes in New Jersey must have an interdisciplinary infection control commission. Employees who have symptoms of communicable diseases cannot work in a capacity that exposes residents to the disease. Facilities must meet all requirements contained in New Jersey Administrative Code Title 8, Chapter 39 Standards for Licensure of Long-term Care Facilities, Subchapter 19.|
|Medicaid Coverages||The Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports division, under the NJ FamilyCare health program, covers skilled nursing facilities. Coverage is available to individuals who meet income and asset limits and need help with at least three activities of daily living.|