With more than 71,000 adults living in skilled nursing facilities, Ohio has the nation’s fifth-largest population of nursing home residents after California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. The Buckeye State is home to more than 978 nursing homes that offer families a wide range of choices.

Skilled nursing facilities are suitable for individuals who have advanced medical needs and require around-the-clock care. In Ohio, these facilities are authorized to provide personal care, such as assistance with daily activities, as well as skilled medical care, such as administering medications. Nursing homes also offer meals, accommodations and recreational activities to provide an enriching lifestyle. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the median cost of a semiprivate nursing home in Ohio is $7,148 per month, and residents pay $1,065 more for private accommodations.

If your loved one is unable to live safely at home or has needs that are too advanced for an assisted living facility, skilled nursing may be the best option. This guide features helpful resources for families who are considering nursing home care, including pricing information, financial assistance programs, relevant state agencies and local long-term care organizations.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Ohio

Budget-conscious families will be pleased to discover that nursing home costs in Ohio are about 8% lower than the national average of $7,756. Rates are also competitive for the region according to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey. In Ohio and Indiana, seniors pay approximately $7,150 per month for a semiprivate room. Although average rates are just $180 higher in Kentucky, seniors in neighboring states pay considerably more. Nursing facilities in Michigan charge $1,825 more per month, and rates in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, exceed $10,000 a month.

$7148

Ohio

$7756

The United States

$8973

Michigan

$7133

Indiana

$10038

Pennsylvania

$7330

Kentucky

$11376

West Virginia

Average nursing home costs vary by more than $2,000 per month in Ohio’s major metropolitan areas. In Columbus, the state’s capital and largest city, monthly rates are $150 lower than the state median. This is one of the most affordable areas for nursing home care after Canton in the northeast, where seniors pay just $6,540 per month. When compared to the state median, prices increase by around $150 in Youngstown, $700 in Cleveland and $970 in Akron, which shows how rates can vary in a limited geographic region. Although monthly costs in Akron exceed $8,100, it’s not the most expensive city. In Dayton, residents pay $8,699 per month, which is $1,000 more than Toledo and $1,550 more than the state median.

$6996

Columbus

$7848

Cleveland

$8152

Cincinnati

$7604

Toledo

$8121

Akron

$8699

Dayton

$6540

Canton

$7300

Youngstown

Families who are seeking long-term care for an elderly relative have several options ranging from adult day care and in-home alternatives to assisted living and skilled nursing in licensed health care facilities. Adult day health care is the most affordable option with an average cost of $1,300 per month. Assisted living costs $4,350 per month, and home health agencies typically charge $4,481 to $4,566 depending on the level of care required. With an average cost of $7,148 per month, nursing homes are considerably more expensive, which reflects the level of skilled care and intensive staffing that’s provided around the clock.

$7148

Nursing Home

$4481

In-Home Care

$4566

Home Health Care

$1300

Adult Day Care

$4350

Assisted Living

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Ohio

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 Ohio.

Ohio’s Medicaid Program

More than 2.8 million Ohioans receive low-cost health insurance through the Department of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Since expanding eligibility to low-income adults in 2013, enrollment has increased by 32%. Although Medicaid is designed primarily for individuals who are unable to afford medical care, it also covers senior citizens, disabled adults and individuals who have certain medical conditions. Medicaid’s Long-Term Care division offers Home- and- Community-Based Services Waivers, programs for veterans and benefits for nursing care that can cover the cost of personal assistance provided at home or in a health care facility.

Medicaid is a valuable resource for anyone who has low to moderate income and needs help paying for long-term care, including skilled nursing. It also helps financially stable seniors since the state allows residents to divest some of their assets by establishing a qualified income trust. According to the Ohio Health Care Association, Medicaid covers 60% of the state’s 71,852 nursing home residents, and 40% of Medicaid spending goes toward skilled nursing.

Medicaid Eligibility in Ohio

Ohioans who require nursing home care can qualify for Medicaid Long-Term Care if they earn no more than 300% of the federal benefit rate. This breaks down to approximately $2,382 per month. Individuals are also limited to $2,000 in countable assets although many exemptions are available for personal property and household expenses.

Applicants must live in Ohio, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and have a Social Security number. Individuals can check their eligibility online. Application assistance is also available through Job and Family Services offices in each county. For more information, call the consumer hotline at (800) 324-8680.

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 Ohio

Seniors in Ohio have access to a wide variety of government-sponsored programs, nonprofit resources and community partners that can help them plan for the future and address their long-term needs whether they’re living at home or in a skilled nursing facility. Here are a few statewide programs that support seniors, caregivers and families.

ResourceContactService
Ohio Area Agencies on Aging(866) 243-5678Ohio is home to 12 Area Agencies on Aging that serve seniors and caregivers in designated counties. These government-backed nonprofits direct older adults to community resources, such as meals, companionship, personal care and in-home assistance. They can also help seniors apply for long-term care waivers and related supports that are available to residents who require a nursing home level of care.
Ohio Department of Aging(800) 266-4346The Ohio Department of Aging engages in research, sponsors age-related legislation and works with the state’s network of AAAs to deliver senior services at the local level. The department provides services that benefit seniors, families and long-term care providers statewide. It offers healthy aging courses, utility bill assistance and respite care grants. It also sponsors the Golden Buckeye senior savings card, which provides discounts at a wide range of businesses.
Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program(800) 686-1578The OSHIIP provides free information and unbiased counseling to help seniors learn more about Medicare and compare plans that are available in their area. Resources can help residents understand original Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage and supplements that can reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare pays for up to 100 days of skilled nursing, and long-term care insurance may be available.
Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman(800) 282-1206Staff members and volunteers with the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocate for nursing home and assisted living residents statewide. They advise seniors on their rights, work to resolve complaints and disputes and provide information to help families select long-term care facilities for their loved ones.
Pro Seniors(800) 488-6070Pro Seniors is a statewide nonprofit that provides legal assistance and long-term care information to older Ohioans. The agency operates a free legal helpline that provides advice to Ohio residents aged 60 and older regardless of income. Elder law attorneys can assist with health care proxies and other documents that may be needed when placing a loved one in a nursing home. Pro Seniors is also a member of the state’s long-term care ombudsman program and Senior Medicare Patrol task force, which helps older residents detect medical billing errors.
Ohio Department of Veterans Services(614) 644-0898The Ohio Department of Veterans Services operates VSOs in all of the state’s 88 counties. Residents who have served in the armed forces or are related to a veteran may qualify for free state and federal benefits, including Aid & Attendance and Housebound pension supplements. The department also operates several long-term care facilities and veterans homes that are open to qualifying individuals with intermediate to advanced medical needs.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Ohio

LicensingNursing homes in Ohio, also called long term care facilities, are licensed by the Department of Health, Health Care Facilities Licensure and Certification Section. Facilities are authorized to provide personal care and skilled nursing to individuals who require assistance due to an injury, illness or disability.
StaffingSkilled nursing facilities must have sufficient direct care staff on each shift to provide appropriate, timely care and to deliver at least 2.5 hours of one-on-one assistance to each resident daily. Qualified staff includes nurse aides, RNs and LPNs. The state also has minimum shift requirements for key personnel, such as the director of nursing.
Staff TrainingFacility administrators must provide appropriate training to ensure that each staff member can perform all required job duties. Nurse aides in Ohio must complete a board-approved 75-hour training program and competency evaluation that includes classroom education and supervised clinical work experience.
Admission RestrictionsIndividuals seeking admission to a Medicaid-funded long-term care facility must pass a federally mandated Preadmission Screening and Resident Review. The facility must be able to safely meet the resident’s needs, especially if the person has a developmental disability or serious mental illness. Short-term admissions may be permitted in emergency situations.
Care PlanningNursing homes must prepare a written plan of care within seven days of admission or completion of the initial assessment. The plan should be developed with input from the resident or resident’s representative and must be reviewed quarterly or following a change in health.
Dietary and Nutrition ServicesSkilled nursing facilities must provide a least three palatable, nutritionally balanced meals daily. Meal substitutions and alternative dining options must be available. Facilities are also required to monitor each resident’s intake to ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Dietary services must be overseen by a qualified nutritionist or registered dietitian.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesNursing homes may provide special services, including physical and occupational therapy, to contribute to the patient’s rehabilitation.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesStaff members may assist nursing home residents with self-administering medications, and they may administer prescription and over-the-counter medications as directed by a physician’s orders. Nursing homes are also required to provide pharmacy services by employing a full- or part-time pharmacist or consultant.
ActivitiesNursing homes must provide comprehensive life enrichment activities to meet residents’ physical and emotional needs. Programs must accommodate the individual’s interests and abilities.
Infection ControlNursing homes must develop written policies for preventing and managing communicable infections and diseases. Staff members must follow hygiene protocols, and facilities must report and investigate infections as required. These rules apply to tuberculosis and other listed diseases.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid Long Term Care will pay for the cost of institutional care provided in a skilled nursing facility. This coverage is available to individuals who meet income and assist limits and have a qualifying medical need.

Nursing Homes Facilities in Ohio (194)