Oklahoma can be a good retirement destination as it’s one of the country’s more affordable states. According to U.S. News, Oklahoma ranks fourth overall in affordability. Oklahoma City was also ranked as the best place for military retirees. Out of Oklahoma’s population of 3,956,971, over 635,000 are 65 and older. According to an Oklahoma State Plan on Aging report, by 2030, the older Oklahoman population is expected to increase by 27.6%. The number of Oklahoman adults over 60 with disabilities is also rising due to a longer life expectancy. These trends may cause challenges for Oklahoma’s health and aging network.

Oklahoma has over 200 nursing homes with 26,993 licensed beds. Approximately 17,213 seniors reside in nursing facilities. Nursing homes provide around the clock skilled nursing care for individuals who need a higher level of supervision. In Oklahoma, a semiprivate room in a nursing home costs an average of $5,323 per month, and a private room averages $5,779, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020

This guide dives into nursing home care costs in Oklahoma, the state Medicaid program, helpful resources for seniors and nursing home rules and regulations. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, Oklahoma’s average cost for a semiprivate room in a nursing home is $5,323 per month, over $2,000 less than the national average of $7,756. Nursing home costs in Kansas, Texas and Arkansas are also lower than the national figures. In Texas, the average nursing home costs are over $300 cheaper than in Oklahoma. However, both Arkansas and Kansas have more expensive nursing home costs than Oklahoma, at $5,931 and $6,692.

$5323

Oklahoma

$7756

The United States

$5019

Texas

$5931

Arkansas

$6692

Kansas

The state capital of Oklahoma City has the least expensive nursing home option in Oklahoma, averaging $5,247 per month. This cost is also lower than both the state and national averages. Seniors in Tulsa, the second-largest city in the state, pay an average of $76 more than those in Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, Enid and Lawton seniors pay the most for nursing home care in Oklahoma, at $5,597 per month. In the Texas city of Wichita Falls, near the border with Oklahoma, seniors can expect to pay significantly less than Oklahoma City residents, with a savings of more than $700 per month. 

$5247

Oklahoma City

$5323

Tulsa

$5597

Enid

$5597

Lawton

$4502

Wichita Falls, TX

Nursing homes are the most expensive care option in Oklahoma. A semiprivate room costs an average of $5,323 per month. In contrast, seniors can save over $3,000 per month for adult day care compared to nursing homes. Assisted living is the second least costly option in Oklahoma, at $3,750. Some seniors may opt for in-home services, which can save them between $700 and $900 per month compared to nursing home care.

$1517

Adult Day Care

$3750

Assisted Living

$4385

Home Care

$4566

Home Health Care

$5323

Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, Medicaid is known as SoonerCare. The program enrolls more than a million residents throughout the state, with seniors representing approximately 6%, or just over 74,000 of the members. Of these, approximately 13,600 live in long-term care facilities. Medicaid pays for all nursing home care, including room and board, as well as some personal care. There are nursing homes in every corner of the state — over 280, with 26,993 licensed beds. Nursing homes typically provide short-term rehabilitation or long-term skilled nursing care with access to 24/7 medical attention, three meals a day, therapeutic services and planned daily activities. 

Oklahoma provides Medicaid Waiver plans for seniors who wish to delay going into an institutional setting. Home and Community-Based Services Waivers like the ADvantage Program provide a variety of services for seniors in their homes or in assisted living communities, including adult day care, home modifications, personal care assistance, meal delivery, medical/nonmedical transportation or access to disposable medical supplies. 

The ADvantage Waiver is managed by the Aging Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The Personal Care Program, as it’s sometimes called, is another Medicaid-sponsored senior plan that provides seniors with financial assistance to pay personal caregivers (sometimes family members) to shop, clean and help them prepare meals. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Oklahoma

There are two parts to establishing eligibility for Medicaid in Oklahoma. First, seniors must require a nursing facility level of care (NFLOC). While proof of NFLOC isn’t always necessary to receive regular Medicaid, seniors must have some need for assistance to complete activities of daily living. This is perhaps the most confusing process of the application, as the income requirements can become convoluted.

For long-term care services, single SoonerCare applicants must have a monthly income lower than $2,382 per month. Married applicants can make up to $4,764/month if both are applying for service. If only one is applying, only the applicant’s income is counted. 

It’s important to note that if only one spouse is going to enter a nursing home, the non-applicant spouse is entitled to a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) of up to $3,435/month because of the Spousal Impoverishment Act. If the spouse is already making more than this amount each month, they’re not eligible for this allowance. 

The value of assets at the time of the application can’t be more than $2,000 each, regardless of whether one or both seniors are applying. The primary residence is typically exempt from consideration as an asset as long as the applicant currently resides in the home and the equity interest is no higher than $603,000. Additionally, home, furnishings, personal effects and the primary vehicle are also exempt from consideration.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Oklahoma

Annual Income Limits 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$28,584

$2,000

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)

$28,584

$2,000 for the applicant 
$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$57,168

$4,000 ($2,000 each)

A senior applying for SoonerCare must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Reside in the state of Oklahoma with the intent of staying within the state. Individuals who reside in a temporary residential dormitory on tribal land are considered residents of the state for purposes of eligibility.

How To Apply for Medicaid in Oklahoma

Seniors who want to apply for Oklahoma Medicaid can do so at their local Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Alternatively, they can download the PS-1 Request for Services application from the DHS website. For assistance in filling out the SoonerCare application, seniors can call their Helpline at (800) 987-7767.

Information You Will Need :

  • Proof of taxable income for you and your spouse
  • Current health insurance information (or most recent)
  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for everyone in the home
  • Proof of identity/citizenship
  • Employment information providing income for all employed members of the household
  • Other sources of income
  • Current health insurance information, including company name, policy/group number, coverage type, the effective date of coverage, policyholder’s name and ID

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Oklahoma

Applying for Medicaid in today’s digital landscape involves a certain amount of guesswork and a lot of computer savvy. While the application process is straightforward, the following resources can help seniors breeze through the paperwork with confidence.

Resource

Contact

Service

(800) 963-5337

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is the supporting department behind the SoonerCare program, so seniors who have questions or concerns regarding the program can get their answers straight from the source. Visitors to the OHCA homepage can find links to the MySoonerCare Portal and information regarding other Medicaid-based programs. Additionally, they can find information and resources that can help them make the right decision about vaccines.

Online Only

The American Council On Aging collaborates with Medicaid experts to create a comprehensive source of information on the program for seniors all over the country. With links to information on how to apply to individual Medicaid-based programs and even what to do when denied coverage, seniors who visit the ACOA page are bound to find the answers they need. The site also offers interactive features such as the Spend Down Calculator and a Medicaid Eligibility Test.

(405) 522-7300

This is a government website designed to present users with easy-to-digest information on the many benefit programs available to them. Seniors can find detailed, program-specific overviews with plenty of avenues for finding out more (phone numbers, program links, related pages), and, if applicable, can take an eligibility quiz to see if they qualify for the program. Alternatively, they can take the Benefit finder questionnaire, which will match them to programs that could meet their needs.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma?

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.

Medicare Support & Resources in Oklahoma

Most American citizens are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, but not everyone is comfortable sifting through the enormous library of information to capitalize on the program’s benefits. The resources below can help seniors learn more about their health insurance options.

Resource

Contact

Service

(800) 763-2828

SHIP is a nonprofit agency that can help seniors learn about Medicare and other senior health insurance topics. From counseling and advocacy services to helping choose the right supplemental insurance plan, this program provides the advice and support seniors need to make the right choice regarding their future health coverage.

(877) 751-2972

The Medicare Improvements for Patients & Providers Act (MIPPA) is administered by the Oklahoma Human Services department. Seniors who need financial assistance to supplement their Medicare plan coverage can apply for a Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) to help pay for prescription medications or for assistance from the Medicare Savings Program, which will reduce or eliminate Medicare Part A and/or Part B premiums.

(800) 633-4227

The best place for help with issues related to Medicare is to go to the source. Medicare.gov is a federal web page for seniors who are enrolled in or are trying to enroll in the program. Visitors to the site will find the most detailed overview of the program available, as well as access to step-by-step instructions for enrolling in Medicare or any of its associated programs. Live chat and callback features ensure visitors find the information they're looking for. 

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma

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 Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s seniors have access to a collection of programs outside of Medicare and Medicaid that can improve their quality of life and bring a sense of peace to those who worry about making ends meet. The following table provides information on free and low-cost resources available to seniors across the state.

Resource

Contact

Service

(405) 521-2281

The Ombudsman Program for Oklahoma's seniors provides advocacy and care for those residing in the state's long-term care settings. They often coordinate communication between family members of residents and the administrators of licensed care facilities to deal with resident complaints and hold the communities accountable for ill-treatment. This often leads to positive changes within a caring community that improve the quality of life for all the residents. 

(800) 435-4711

The home and community-based program ADvantage plan is offered to Medicaid-eligible seniors and disabled adults who'd benefit from receiving assistance while living at home. The program helps seniors meet personal care needs, oversees home modifications, helps fund specialized medical equipment, facilitates food delivery and assists families in whatever capacity it can to improve a member's quality of life.

(800) 211-2116

The ASD partners with Oklahoma's 11 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to provide seniors with a huge collection of services across the state. Each office offers different programming that might include in-home assistance, legal aid services, transportation, home-delivered meals, respite care and resources for grandparents raising grandchildren. Most agencies provide some level of assistance with vision and dental costs, as well as help with utility costs and home modifications.

Online Only

Oklahoma 211 is a searchable online directory that connects individuals with service providers around the state. The database includes access to community programs that can provide everything from counseling services to assistive technology equipment to after-school meal programs. The directory also contains a number of Native American community resources. 

(918) 256-7531

The Senior Companions Program through Senior Corps is a dual-purpose community service that pairs 55+ volunteers with frail older adults to offer full-time caregivers a respite. SCP volunteers provide their peers with cleaning, running errands or fixing dinner. In some cases, they simply provide a little companionship during a long day.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Oklahoma

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including oklahoma.gov/health. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/13/2022, 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma

NURSING HOME LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN OKLAHOMA
Licensing Requirements
All nursing home facilities in Oklahoma must be licensed by the state. New nursing homes will receive an initial license valid for only 180 days. During this time, the facility must meet licensure requirements before it can be issued a license. Licenses expire after 12 months.
Staffing Requirements
Nursing homes must have sufficient staff on duty 24 hours a day and must maintain at least the minimum direct care staff ratios required by the state. All licensed nurses must have a current license issued by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The facility must also have an Oklahoma-licensed medical doctor or osteopathic physician as its medical director.
Staff Training Requirements
All staff must complete orientation and training before working without supervision. Direct care staff must complete two hours of in-service training, including fire safety, resident rights and pain recognition.
Admission Restrictions
A nursing home facility shouldn't admit an individual if it doesn't have the personnel or resources needed to provide adequate care for that person.
Care Planning Requirements
The facility must complete an assessment and create a care plan for each resident. The individual care plan must reflect the resident's needs and be developed by an interdisciplinary team. An initial care plan must be completed at the time of admission and an individualized plan must be finished within 21 days after entry.
Dietary and Nutrition Services Requirements
Nursing facilities must have a registered or licensed dietician or qualified nutritionist on staff. A food service supervisor and a qualified nutritionist/dietician must develop a care plan for each resident. Facilities must also serve at least three regularly scheduled meals, with four-hour breaks in between. 
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Nursing homes or an outside source must provide rehabilitative services to residents. These services must be ordered by the physician and provided under licensed or qualified staff. Services can include physical therapy, speech therapy and psychological therapy.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Medications must be stored in a medication room that must be locked when not in use. Facilities must have a consultant licensed pharmacist, ensure each resident's medications are reviewed monthly and keep an accurate written record of drugs administered. 
Activities Requirements
Nursing homes must have a trained activities program staff on duty and a qualified activities director. The facility must provide at least 20 hours of designated activity staff per week.
Infection Control
Facilities must have an infection control policy and procedure to provide a safe and sanitary environment. It must also follow and practice the universal precautions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control. An annual tuberculosis risk assessment must also be performed in a facility by a licensed nurse or physician.
Medicaid Coverage
Medicaid can help pay the cost of nursing homes for qualified seniors. Applicants must be 65 years and older and meet the income and asset requirements. Seniors must also meet a nursing level of care as determined by the DHS.