Nursing Homes in Utah
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.
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.
Salt Lake City
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.
Adult Day Health Care
Assisted Living Care
Home Health Aide
Nursing Home Care
Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Utah?
Over 400,000 Utah residents are enrolled in Medicaid, which accounts for around 11.4% of senior citizens aged 65 or over. For seniors living in nursing homes in Utah, Medicaid can help cover the costs of room and board, nursing care, medical supplies, transportation to medical appointments, dietary supplements and non-prescription pharmacy items.
In Utah, 97 nursing homes are certified to accept Medicare and Medicaid. Each facility has an average of 87 beds, with currently over 5,000 residents across the state. Nursing facilities provide 24/7 hospital-level medical care that is specialized to the needs of each resident. The Utah Long Term Care Medicaid program can help to pay for nursing home fees for financially and medically eligible applicants. Some residents may be eligible for one of the Waiver Programs that help seniors stay at home as long as possible or in another community setting where they can live independently instead of being in a nursing home.
Medicaid Eligibility in Utah
In order to be eligible for Medicaid, applicants must meet a number of medical and financial criteria. Seniors who receive the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or Social Security Disability benefits are deemed to meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid.
The financial requirements include income and asset limits. For a one-person household, there is no income limit, and there is an asset limit of $2,000. For a two-person household where only one person is applying, there is no income limit, and there is an asset limit of $2,000 for the applicant and $137,400 for the non-applicant due to the Spousal Impoverishment Act. For a two-person household where both people are applying, there is no income limit, and there is an asset limit of $4,000 ($2,000 per spouse).
2023 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Utah
|Income Limits Per Year||Asset Limits|
|Single Applicant||No limit for nursing home Medicaid||$2,000|
|Married (One Spouse Applying)||No limit for nursing home Medicaid||$2,000 for applicant, $148,620 for non-applicant|
|Married (Both Spouses Applying)||No limit for nursing home Medicaid||$4,000|
*With the exception of a personal needs allowance of $45 per month and Medicare premiums, all of an applicant’s monthly income must go to the nursing home.
Other eligibility requirements for qualifying for Medicaid in Utah include the following. The applicant must:
- Be a resident of Utah
- Be aged 65 or older or blind or disabled
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
How To Apply for Medicaid in Utah
Seniors in Utah can apply for Medicaid online via myCase, where they need to download and submit a completed paper application. Alternatively, they can apply in person at their local Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Office or by mail by sending their application to P.O. Box 143245, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-3245. To receive assistance, seniors can call the DWS office on (866) 435-7414 or go into their local Area Agency on Aging office.
Applicants should ensure they meet all eligibility requirements before applying, as this could slow down their application or lead to refusal.
Information You Will Need:
- Social Security and Medicare cards
- Proof of identity and citizenship
- Proof of total income for applicant and spouse
- Proof of assets owned by applicant or their spouse, including any assets where they are joint owner, signer or trustee
- Copies of medical bills owed or just paid
Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Utah
The following list contains free resources that can assist seniors and their families when going through the often complicated process of applying for Medicare.
|Benefits.gov||(800) 662-9651||Benefits.org is a government website that offers basic information about Medicaid in the state of Utah. It includes information such as what Medicaid is, who is eligible for it and who to contact to apply. It also outlines the maximum income allowances to be eligible.|
|Area Agency on Aging||(801) 213-4156||The Area Agency on Aging in Utah provides state, regional and local programs to assist seniors with Medicare and Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) enrollment and with any questions about Medicaid and the application process.|
|Utah Senior Planning||(801) 546-9556||Utah Senior Planning provides seniors and their families with financial advice and information. Its services include free consultations to see if seniors are eligible for Medicaid and access to a free nursing home Medicaid pre-approval letter.|
Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Utah?
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:
- A semiprivate room
- 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 Utah
Seniors who are thinking about nursing home care as an option may worry about whether Medicare covers the costs. Health insurance can provide some initial assistance to support seniors and their families. The following list provides a list of resources and support services to help families decide what is the best option for them.
|The State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs)||(800) 541-7735||The Health Division of the Utah Insurance Department works with the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services to provide SHIPs. The program offers local Medicare and insurance counseling to eligible seniors and their families. It empowers and educates families on health insurance and Medicare options through counseling and training services.|
|Medicare.gov||(800) 633-4227||Medicare.gov is a government website that offers 24/7 information about Medicare health care programs and useful information specific to Utah residents. A live chat option lets seniors speak with trained advisors who can offer free support and advice.|
|Utah Insurance Department||(801) 957-9200||The Utah Insurance Department assists Utah residents with Medicare and health insurance. A phone number is available for advice Monday through Friday, and online resources can be accessed 24/7.|
Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Utah
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.
|Name||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 Utah
Seniors in Utah have access to a variety of free and low-cost resources that can assist them with finding services to aid them in keeping independence while living at home or help them to make the transition into nursing home care. Services include support groups, legal aid and educational programs.
|Area Agency on Aging||(801) 213-4156||The Area Agencies on Aging administer services and programs to help seniors living in each area of Utah to remain independent. In the Salt Lake area, seniors have access to services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation services and in-home care assistance.|
|Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program||(801) 538-4171||The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provides seniors in long-term care facilities with an advocate who helps to protect their rights. Ombudsmen offer educational resources to both residents and staff and investigate any complaints. The ombudsmen receive extensive training and look out for the residents' best interests.|
|Utah Commission on Aging||(801) 213-4156||The Utah Commission on Aging offers state, regional and local programs that include senior transportation, exercise classes, nutrition support and community support groups. The agency promotes independence and enhances seniors' quality of life.|
|Elder Law Program||(801) 662-424||The Elder Law Program provides legal aid to seniors living in Utah. Seniors can apply for help via the website or visit the office in Salt Lake County. The program offers help with matters such as powers of attorney, Medicaid, making funeral plans and settling an estate.|
|Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs||(800) 894-9497||The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs helps veterans and their family members receive all benefits they are entitled to within state and national programs. Its programs include legal resources, assistance for claiming VA benefits and information about veteran homes.|
Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Utah
|Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Utah|
|Licensing Requirements||All 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 Requirements||In 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 Requirements||Nursing 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 Restrictions||Nursing 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 Requirements||Upon 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 Requirement||Nursing 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 Services||Nursing 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 Services||Every 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 Coverages||Utah Medicaid benefits include nursing home care for beneficiaries who meet the clinical criteria for nursing home placement.|