Utah is home to just over 3.2 million residents, and that number includes 365,198 seniors aged 65 and older. By the year 2065, the University of Utah projects that one in five Utahns will be a senior, and many of those will require long-term care services such as adult day care, in-home health care or skilled nursing care. 

Utah seniors with complex medical needs who require 24/7 support and medical monitoring can access that level of care in a nursing home. Also known as skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes are highly regulated, specialized institutions that provide around-the-clock medical and nonmedical assistance. Nursing home services also include room and board, recreational programming, and in some facilities, rehabilitation services such as speech, occupational or physical therapy. 

The average monthly cost of nursing home care in Utah is $6,388 for a semiprivate room, and $8,365 for a private room. This guide covers nursing home costs throughout Utah, and how they compare to the cost of other long-term care services. There’s also an overview of the financial aid programs that help seniors pay for nursing home care, a summary of nursing home regulations in Utah, and a list of free resources for seniors. 

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Utah

According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of semiprivate nursing home care in Utah is $6,388. Rates in Utah are well below the national average of $7,756, and lower than rates in every neighboring state. In Arizona, seniors can expect to pay $6,844 per month for semiprivate nursing home care, while the statewide average rate jumps to $8,258 in Wyoming, and $8,517 in Colorado. Costs are even higher in Idaho at $8,669, and in Nevada, which has the highest rates of all states that border Utah, seniors pay an average of $9,262 per month. 

$6388

Utah

$7756

The United States

$6844

Arizona

$8258

Wyoming

$8517

Colorado

$8669

Idaho

$9262

Nevada

Within Utah, rates range from a low of $5,627 in Logan to a high of $7,254 in Ogden. Average nursing home costs are the same in Provo and St. George, where semiprivate care rates run around $6,388 per month, while rates in the state capitol, Salt Lake City, average $6,996 per month. 

$5627

Logan

$6388

Provo

$6388

St. George

$6996

Salt Lake City

$7254

Ogden

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock medical care, recreational programming and supervision in a specialized institutional setting. Seniors who can be safely supported in a less-restrictive setting may find that the level of care offered in an assisted living facility meets their needs, while those who want to age in place in their own homes can seek support from a homemaker or home health aide. Adult day health care services are another option for seniors, as this type of care includes nonmedical care in a community setting during regular business hours. Average costs for long-term care in Utah start at $1,928 per month for adult day health care, while in-home care ranges from $4,814 for homemaker services to $4,957 for a home health aide. Residential care in an assisted living facility costs an average of $3,400 per month, which is $2,988 less than semiprivate nursing home care. 

$1928

Adult Day Health Care

$3400

Assisted Living Care

$4814

Homemaker Services

$4957

Home Health Aide

$6388

Nursing Home Care

Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care in Utah

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 Utah.

Utah’s Medicaid Program

As of September 2020, 365,322 Utah residents were enrolled in Utah’s Medicaid and CHIP programs. The state’s Nursing Home Medicaid program, also known as the Utah Long-Term Care Medicaid program, includes coverage for a range of medical and nonmedical services for beneficiaries who require the level of care provided in one of the state’s 99 Medicaid-certified skilled nursing facilities. Placement in a nursing home is only an option for individuals who can’t be safely supported in a less-restrictive setting, such as an assisted living community, adult foster home or their own home. 

Utah Medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care, including room and board, durable and disposable medical supplies, dietary supplements, and nonprescription medications, for seniors who meet current Medicaid income and asset limits. In accordance with Medicaid guidelines, seniors need to be aged 65 or older, or certified as blind or disabled, and need the level of care provided in a skilled nursing facility for at least 30 consecutive days to be eligible for a Medicaid-funded nursing home bed. Seniors who receive either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits are deemed disabled under Medicaid rules. 

Medicaid Eligibility in Utah

To qualify for Medicaid in Utah, seniors need to: 

  • Own no more than $2,000 in countable assets such as cash, bonds and investments
  • Be a resident of Utah and aged 65 or older, or designated as blind or disabled
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Have an annual pretax income of $16,971 or less 

Utah seniors can apply for Medicaid online or by calling the Utah Medicaid hotline at 1-800-662-9651. 

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 Utah

There are a number of free and low-cost programs and services that help seniors navigate their long-term care options. These services include case management, advocacy, legal support and educational programs for family caregivers. 

ResourceContactService
Alzheimer’s Association — Utah Chapter(800) 272-3900The national Alzheimer’s Association works to advance Alzheimer’s research, early detection and treatment. The Utah Chapter offers a number of educational programs and support groups for those living with memory loss, as well as family and professional caregivers. The Chapter also provides no-fee care consultations that include personalized information about dementia, the diagnosis process, and long-term care planning. 
Long-Term Care Ombudsman(801) 538-3924Utah’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program works to protect the rights of long-term care residents by educating residents, staff and family members; investigating complaints about long-term care facilities; and advocating on the behalf of residents. Anyone can contact the statewide network of certified volunteer Ombudsmen to file a concern or complaint, or to learn more about resident rights. 
Utah Legal Services(800) 662-4245Utah Legal Services is a statewide nonprofit organization with offices in St. George, Provo, Ogden and Salt Lake City. ULS helps low-income seniors aged 60 and older with noncriminal matters, such as issues with Medicaid and long-term care; estate planning and advanced directives; SSI and SSD benefits; and guardianship proceedings. 
Area Agencies on Aging(801) 538-4171Utah’s statewide network of Area Agencies on Aging provides seniors with information on local resources, case management services and help accessing long-term care. These federally mandated nonprofit organizations also help seniors connect with free and low-cost legal services, health and wellness programs, Medicaid counseling and caregiver support groups. Seniors can locate their regional AAA online, by dialing 2-1-1 or by contacting Aging and Adult Services. 
Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs(800) 894-9497Utah’s Department of Veteran and Military Affairs helps ensure vets and their dependents receive their maximum available entitlements through county, state and federal programs. The Department also manages the Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bluffdale, which provides cost-free interment for eligible vets. 

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Utah

Licensing RequirementsAll Utah nursing homes are regulated under Rule R432-150 of the Utah Administrative Code, and the Bureau of Health Facility Licensing. Certification and Resident Assessment is responsible for the licensing and inspection of long-term care facilities. 
Staffing RequirementsIn Utah, every nursing home must have a licensed administrator and a director of nursing who is a licensed registered nurse. All direct care staff must be screened for infectious diseases and immunized in accordance with state guidelines. Staff must also complete a TB test prior to commencing duties. Facilities must maintain adequate staffing levels to safely provide quality care to each resident. A licensed nurse must be designated as a charge nurse on every shift. 
Staff Training RequirementsNursing home administrators must ensure that all staff receives annual training in fire prevention, emergency procedures, infection control, resident rights and safety procedures. All unlicensed staff who provide nursing care must work under the supervision of an RN or LPN, and staff must be trained in basic first aid and CPR. 
Admission RestrictionsNursing homes can only admit residents with care needs that cannot be safely managed in a less-restrictive setting. Facilities can decline admission to individuals who may pose a threat to themselves or others due to aggressive behavior and/or transmission of communicable diseases, as well as those with health care needs that exceed the capabilities of the facility. 
Care Planning RequirementsUpon admission, the facility must have orders issued from a licensed physician that outline the immediate care needs of the resident. A comprehensive care plan that covers the individual’s medical history and needs, cognitive status and rehabilitation potential must be prepared by the facility within 14 days of admission, and reviewed at least once every 90 days. A comprehensive assessment needs to be completed at least once every 365 days. Care plans must be reviewed within 14 days of a significant change in the resident’s physical and/or mental health, regardless of the date of the previous review. 
Dietary and  Nutritional Services RequirementsNursing homes must provide safe, nutritionally balanced meals and snacks that are both palatable and compliant with resident’s dietary needs. Each facility must employ or retain the services of a certified dietitian, and if the dietitian is not on-site on a full-time basis, a dietetic supervisor must also be retained. Menus must be posted in a common area within the facility, and daily menus must be unique each day within a 21-day cycle. Facilities need to ensure the interval between breakfast and the last meal of the day is no greater than 14 hours. A one-week supply of nonperishable foods and a three-day supply of perishable items must be kept on-site at all times. Dining assistants need to complete a minimum of eight hours of training in feeding techniques, infection control and resident rights. 
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesNursing homes may offer specialized rehabilitative services, and all such services may only be delivered by state-licensed professionals employed by, or contracted to, the nursing home. Facilities can only provide specialized rehab services that are prescribed by an attending physician, and that physician needs to review the treatment plan with the therapist on a monthly basis. 
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesEvery nursing home needs to either employ or contract with a licensed pharmacist who oversees medication dispensing and recording in the facility. The pharmacist must also review resident medications on a monthly basis, and ensure the safe handling and storage of all prescription and nonprescription medications. Facilities are required to have an emergency drug supply on-site and inventoried monthly by the pharmacist. 
Activities Requirements Nursing homes should provide a recreational program, and daily activities need to be posted on a monthly basis. 
Infection Control Requirements All nursing homes must establish and maintain an infection control protocol in accordance with public health guidelines. 
Medicaid CoverageUtah Medicaid benefits include nursing home care for beneficiaries who meet the clinical criteria for nursing home placement.