Oregon, known as the Beaver State, attracts a great diversity of seniors with its beautiful natural scenery and friendly policies for older adults. Seniors aged 65 and over make up 18% of the state’s population, which is more than the national average of 16.5%. Many of these seniors require regular or short-term care in a licensed nursing home. According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon has 137 facilities with more than 11,000 beds combined. Oregon also has the lowest nursing home occupancy rate in the United States. 

In Oregon Administrative Rules, the definition of a nursing facility is a permanent residence with two or more people that provides medical services, such as skilled nursing and inpatient beds, but not surgical services. These facilities must be licensed and able to perform complex nursing tasks. A semi-private room in a nursing home in Oregon costs $10,114 per month and a private room is $11,178.

This guide provides information about the costs of nursing home care in Oregon, along with information about financial assistance and free and low-cost resources that may be of assistance to seniors and their families. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Oregon

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, the average price for nursing home care in Oregon is $10,114 per month. This makes Oregon the most expensive state in the region for this type of care. The second most expensive state is Washington at $9,581 per month. California and Nevada average just a few hundred dollars less at $9,247 and $9,262 per month, respectively. The least expensive state is Idaho at $8,669 per month. Each state in the region is significantly more expensive than the national average of $7,756.

$10114

Oregon

$7756

The United States

$9581

Washington

$8669

Idaho

$9247

California

$9262

Nevada

The cost of nursing home care in Oregon can vary by thousands of dollars depending on location. Medford, which is at the very southern end of the state, has the least expensive costs at $9,475 per month. East of the Cascades, the city of Bend has the most expensive nursing home costs at an average of $11,650 per month. Portland, which costs $10,083 per month, is very close to the state average. Salem is the capital of Oregon and has an average monthly cost of $10,646. About 50 miles down the road is the fast-growing city of Eugene, where nursing home care costs $10,235 per month, on average.

$10083

Portland

$11650

Bend

$9475

Medford

$10646

Salem

$10235

Eugene

Nursing home care is the most expensive type of care for seniors in Oregon. Adult daycare is the most affordable option at $2,582 per month, but it may not be an adequate choice for many families. Seniors who are able to stay in their own homes may use homemaker services and home health aides, which cost $5,472 and $5,529 per month, respectively. Assisted living costs $4,659 per month. Residents who require memory care may pay up to 30% more. 

$10114

Nursing Home

$2582

Adult Day Care

$4659

Assisted Living

$5472

Homemaker Services

$5529

Home Health Aide

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Oregon?

In Oregon, there are over 1.2 million residents enrolled in Medicaid. The state Medicaid program covers nursing care and specialized rehabilitation services. Eligible seniors can receive dietary counseling and pharmaceutical management services at no cost to them. Medicaid also pays for the cost of in-house doctor visits and medically related social services. 

There are over 100 nursing homes in Oregon, many of which accept Medicaid. Seniors can also apply for alternative care to nursing home placement, such as aging in place at home with help from the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Home- and community-based services (HCBS) waivers are another way to receive nursing care services at home or in residential facilities. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Oregon

Oregon’s Medicaid program requires individuals to meet certain income limits. Single applicants can have a monthly income of no more than $2,523 and no more than $2,000 in assets. These limits are the same for an individual applying from a two-person household, although due to the Spousal Impoverishment Act, their spouse can have up to $137,400 in assets. Couples applying for Medicaid must have a monthly income that doesn’t exceed $5,046 and no more than $4,000 in assets.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Oregon

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant 

$30,276

$2,000

Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

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

Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)

$60,552

$4,000

In addition to the financial requirements, Medicaid eligibility in Oregon is determined by the individual’s need for nursing-level care and proof that the individual resides in the state. Other qualifications include: 

  • Birth certificate or other proof of citizenship
  • Military documents, including DD 214
  • Car registration and insurance

How To Apply for Medicaid in Oregon

Seniors and loved ones can apply for Oregon’s Medicaid program, also known as the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), online by submitting an application or downloading an application to print out and mail. Available in five languages, the application can also be requested by mail by calling OHP Customer Service at (800) 699-9075. Be sure to have the appropriate documents prepared before starting the enrollment process. Any changes to the application can take up to three weeks to reprocess.  

Information You Will Need:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card or proof of citizenship if born outside the United States
  • Medicare cards
  • Proof of life insurance documents
  • Property deeds 
  • Proof of any real property sold or transferred within 60 months prior to the application date
  • Proof of car registration and insurance 
  • Proof of pension(s), including a letter of verification from the provider
  • Preneed burial contract
  • VA discharge papers, such as DD 214, for veteran applicants
  • Copies of trusts and wills, as well as powers of attorney 
  • Any other documents the applicants thinks will support their claim

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Oregon

Listed below are a few Medicaid-related resources to assist seniors and families who are looking for ways to cover the cost of care, such as HCBS waivers. Benefits.gov and similar online directories can help seniors find federally funded programs with local providers. 

Resource

Contact

Service

(503) 945-5600

The Oregon Area Agencies on Aging, which has 16 offices located throughout the state, offers registration forms in seven languages. Representatives can help qualifying seniors and their families find in-home and community-based services that fit their needs. Area Agencies on Aging work with the Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon to ensure individuals find resources closest to their residence.

Online Only

Medicaid Planning Assistance, which partners with the American Council on Aging, has a plethora of guides and articles about how to properly file for Medicaid assistance and how to maintain benefits. Users can find free information regarding HCBS waiver eligibility and VA nursing homes. The website also offers a Medicaid eligibility test and an in-depth guide that compares the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a professional planner vs self-planning. 

(800) 359-9517

Benefits.gov is the official U.S. government website that helps seniors find resources and services to improve their quality of life and promote independence. Individuals can use the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) provided by the Social Security Administration to determine if they're eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, as well as many other federal benefits.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Oregon?

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 and Resources in Oregon

While long-term care is not covered by Medicare, there are financial assistance programs that can reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs for eligible seniors. Medicare professionals can help with the enrollment process and managing Medicare claims.

Resource

Contact

Service

(800) 722-4134

For Medicare beneficiaries in Oregon, Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) offers free and unbiased insurance counseling for those who need help maintaining their benefits. Certified by the state, Medicare counselors have experience helping seniors understand each Medicare Part and find supplemental plans that fit their needs. Counseling services are available one-on-one and as a group presentation.

(855) 447-0155

The Medicare Savings Connect program can help with out-of-pocket Medicare Part B and D costs, including deductibles and co-pays. To qualify for Part B assistance, single individuals can make no more than $1,469 per month and couples can make no more than $1,980 per month. For Part D assistance, single applicants can make no more than $1,630 per month and have no more than $14,790 in assets. Couples must have a monthly income of $2,198 and no more than $29,520 in assets.

(800) 794-6559

Partnered with the National Council on Aging, BenefitsCheckUp is a free website that allows users to search for resources based on their location and a short questionnaire. Seniors and caregivers can use the website to find financial assistance and tax relief programs, with information available in English and Spanish. Health care assistance includes prescription and Medicare savings programs.

(800) 633-4227

The official Medicare website offers information about original Medicare and links to professional Medicare help and Medicare-registered providers. Seniors and loved ones can create an account to manage their insurance coverage and view upcoming scheduled medical screening and other preventive services. Beneficiaries can find and download their health and Medicare history.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Oregon

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 Oregon

Families and seniors looking for skilled nursing services may benefit from some of the resources mentioned listed below. There are resources that can help both seniors already residing in a nursing home, such as the long-term care ombudsman program, as well as those looking for ways to age in place at home.

Resource

Contact

Service

(855) 673-2372

The Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon helps users search for services and long-term care facilities located throughout the state. The website's planning toolkit for long-term services and support is available in English, Spanish and five other languages. Seniors and families can call their local ADRC office with any questions about local programs.

(503) 378-6533

Ombudsman can help residents of long-term care facilities receive the appropriate level of care and advocate for residents’ rights. Seniors and loved ones can reach out to an ombudsman regarding neglect or medication mismanagement. Long-term care ombudsman can also assist families with searching for local nursing homes.

Multiple Locations

The Senior Law Project is a free service for seniors in Portland and Multnomah County. Volunteer representatives help seniors with estate planning. consumer concerns and housing problems such as evictions and foreclosure. Interested individuals can find a list of office locations on the website.

(844) 224-7223

The Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, provides a wide range of medical care and social services. Doctors, nurses and rehabilitation therapists assess seniors' needs to create a personalized care plan designed to improve quality of life and delay nursing home placement. 

(503) 206-5248

Habitat for Humanity's home restoration program helps seniors age in place instead of being placed in a nursing home. A construction specialist provides home evaluations and coordinates with local human services professionals, such as social workers, to improve homes with safety features that enhance mobility.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Oregon

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including oregon.gov/DHS/COVID-19. 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon

NURSING HOME LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN OREGON
Licensing Requirements
A person or group of people is required to hold a license to operate a nursing facility in Oregon. Applicants must pass a criminal background check, have a clean performance history, demonstrate financial credibility and have experience in operating a nursing facility. Licenses need to be renewed annually. 
Staffing Requirements
All nursing facilities in Oregon must be staffed by a full-time licensed nursing home administrator. In facilities with fewer than 40 beds, this administrator may help meet other minimum requirements while on duty.For every resident within a nursing facility, a licensed nurse must be on duty for one hour per week. Facilities must have a licensed charge nurse on each shift, 24 hours per day. Nursing assistants are also required in the following ratios:Day Shift: 1 for every 7 residentsEvening Shift: 1 for every 9.5 residentsNight Shift: 1 for every 17 residentsOregon has specific rules for when shifts can begin and end. 
Staff Training Requirements
Staff at each nursing facility is required to go through orientation training and continual in-service training each quarter. The RN Care Manager is required to pass three credit hours in topics related to long-term care, gerontology or rehabilitation. Certified nursing assistants shall receive a minimum of three hours of in-service training each calendar quarter.
Admission Restrictions
No nursing facility is allowed to admit a resident who has conditions that the facility does not have the staff or equipment to care for adequately. No person shall be admitted without a direct order from a physician, and no one who is mentally ill or developmentally disabled can be admitted without approval from a legal representative. In addition, the facility cannot place a new resident in any location not included in the most currently approved floor plan.
Care Planning Requirements
Within 14 days of admittance, a registered nurse must complete a comprehensive assessment of a resident in order to determine their needs and capabilities. The nursing facility will then have seven days to complete a comprehensive care plan. This plan will describe in detail how the facility will meet the medical, nursing, and psychosocial needs of the resident. Whenever possible, the plan will promote the independence of the resident, as well as their potential for discharge.
Dietary and Nutrition Services Requirements
Each nursing facility in Oregon must have a dietary services department that's responsible for the delivery of sanitary food to residents. The department must be run by a dietary service director who is a registered dietician or someone with the equivalent education or experience. Menus need to have input from a physician, and three meals must be served daily. Dining assistants, who are trained and evaluated, can help residents with feeding. 
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Nursing facilities must make a rehabilitation program available that aims to restore the functional abilities of residents to the greatest extent possible. Each resident must have their own rehabilitation plan. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services 
In order to ensure compliance with Oregon regulations, each nursing facility must consult with a pharmacist. They will help the facility adhere to correct drug storage, supply and labeling, as well as drug administration. Written policies will describe when residents can self-administer their medications. 
Activities Requirements
An activity program, which is run by an activity director, must be in place at each Oregon nursing facility. The program will promote normal activities that lead to the self-care of residents. Activity plans for each resident shall be incorporated into each comprehensive care plan. 
Infection Control
To promote a clean environment, nursing facility employees may not hold duties that may potentially contaminate living areas, such as working trash pickup and housekeeping. The facility must also have a Quality Assurance and Assessment Committee that creates and regularly reviews an infection control program to help prevent the spread of disease. 
Medicaid Coverage
Residents who meet the income and asset requirements for the Oregon Health Plan, which is 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate, may have their nursing home stay covered by Medicaid.