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.

$11254

New Jersey

$7756

The United States

$12319

New York

$10038

Pennsylvania

$12927

Connecticut

$12349

Delaware

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.

$10783

Trenton

$10950

Vineland

$10555

Ocean City

$9277

Atlantic City

$11771

New York City, NY

$11285

Philadelphia, PA

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.

$4957

Homemaker Services

$4957

Home Health Care

$1901

Adult Day Care

$6650

Assisted Living

$11254

Nursing Home

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in New Jersey

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 New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Medicaid Program

New Jersey FamilyCare provides affordable health insurance to 1.8 million adults and children. Since laws changed in 2013, enrollment has increased by 41%. Medicaid covers children, low-income adults and certain individuals who are aged, disabled or suffering from terminal medical conditions. Although Medicaid has strict income limits, expanded Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports are available to clinically eligible individuals, including seniors who require nursing home care.

MLTSS works like regular health insurance. Benefits are provided by managed care organizations that function just like HMOs. Individuals who qualify for MLTSS can access medical services as well as skilled nursing, in-home care and assisted living through the program. According to the New Jersey Hospital Association, Medicaid covers 50% of the state’s nursing home residents, which represents up to 27,500 beneficiaries. Nine out of 10 of the state’s 361 nursing homes accept Medicaid, and 58% have a Medicare quality rating of four stars or better.

Medicaid Eligibility in New Jersey

Seniors and disabled adults aged 21 or older may qualify for Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports if they require assistance with at least three activities of daily living and meet income and asset limits. Like many states, New Jersey sets the income limit for Medicaid long-term care at 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate. Individuals are limited to $2,000 in assets, although exemptions apply for personal property and funds needed to care for a spouse. Applicants may be asked for information about their income, assets and expenses. Proof of age, identity, citizenship and marital status is also required. Seniors can apply for NJ FamilyCare online or by calling (800) 356-1561.

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 New Jersey

Seniors and family caregivers have access to a variety of free resources to assist with long-term care planning and help residents access services in their communities. Learn more about some of the programs available to New Jersey seniors who want to age in place or transition to a nursing home successfully.

ResourceContactService
New Jersey Division of Aging Services(877) 222-3737The Division of Aging Services receives more than $300 million in state and federal funding that’s distributed to Aging and Disability Resource Connection offices, Area Agencies on Aging and community partners in all 21 counties. It helps residents by offering prescription drug assistance, Medicare savings programs and informational services. Seniors can apply for many of these benefits online through NJ Save.
Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly(800) 792-8820Since 2009, New Jersey residents who are 55 or older and require skilled nursing have been able to receive primary care and long-term care through six regional PACE providers that serve clients in 65 local markets. Multiple payment options are available, and seniors who qualify for Medicaid long-term care may receive services with no share of cost, including prescriptions and diagnostics.
New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman(877) 582-6995The state’s long-term care ombudsman advocates for nursing home residents and advises seniors on their rights. It helps individuals navigate the transition to or from skilled nursing facilities. Ombudsmen also work to resolve complaints of nursing home abuse or neglect brought by residents, relatives or other concerned parties.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program(800) 792-8820The state’s SHIP is a comprehensive resource for seniors who have questions or concerns about Medicare. Trained volunteers direct consumers to information and resources during free consultations. They can help beneficiaries manage claims, detect billing errors and apply for Medigap supplements or prescription drug benefits.
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs(888) 865-8387The New Jersey DMVAVA provides free assistance to help veterans and military families apply for benefits, such as Aid & Attendance, Housebound pension supplements and VA medical services. It also operates several long-term care facilities and provides a free 355-page resource guide to inform veterans and relatives about state and federal programs they may be eligible for.
New Jersey Foundation for Aging(609) 421-0206The Foundation for Aging advocates for older adults by influencing public policy, analyzing aging trends and providing educational resources, including information about property tax breaks, Medicaid waivers, long-term care assistance and statewide resources. Its monthly magazine, Renaissance, caters to seniors, baby boomers and caregivers.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in New Jersey

LicensingSkilled 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 MinimumsStarting 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 TrainingNursing 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 RestrictionsNursing 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 PlanningSkilled 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 Nutrition ServicesNursing 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 ServicesNursing 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 ServicesSkilled 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.
Mandatory Resident ActivitiesNursing 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 ControlNursing 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 CoverageThe 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.

Nursing Homes Facilities in New Jersey (88)