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Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living?

Written by Michaela Kitchen
 about the author
2 minute readLast updated April 3, 2023
Reviewed by Letha Sgritta McDowellLetha Sgritta McDowell is an attorney practicing in both Virginia and North Carolina. She is a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Council, a certified elder law attorney, and a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Watching a parent’s health decline puts adult children in a position to figure out the best next steps. A move to assisted living is a common choice for aging loved ones who might benefit from living in a safe community where they can receive assistance with daily activities while enjoying enriching activities. However, paying for assisted living can be a challenge. Families searching for financial solutions may look to Medicare, but, unfortunately, it won’t cover all the costs associated with assisted living.

Key Takeaways

  1. Medicare does not pay for assisted living. Room, board, and personal care aren't covered by Medicare.
  2. Medicare can still help cover health care costs. As health insurance, Medicare will help pay for medical appointments and prescriptions regardless of where a beneficiary lives.
  3. Although Medicare won't help with assisted living costs, there are other payment options. Families usually use a combination of private funds, insurance, and benefits to pay for assisted living.
  4. There are ways to save money. Sharing a suite with a roommate or renting a smaller apartment can reduce assisted living expenses.

Can you pay for assisted living with Medicare?

No, Medicare won’t pay for assisted living costs like rent, meals, nonmedical care, utilities, or transportation services. However, it will cover medical expenses, such as medications, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, durable medical equipment, and more.

What is Medicare? What does it cover?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, some younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. There are various parts of Medicare that help cover specific services, and there are two main ways to get coverage: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.[01]

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Original Medicare

With Original Medicare, beneficiaries get coverage directly through the federal government.
The two parts of Original Medicare are:
  • Part A (hospital insurance), which covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, care in a skilled nursing facility, and some home health care.
  • Part B (medical insurance), which covers some doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. [02]
A beneficiary may also add one or both of these separate plans for additional coverage:
  • Part D (prescription drug coverage), which covers the costs of prescription drugs, including recommended shots or vaccines.
  • Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance), which helps cover remaining out-of-pocket costs like copays and coinsurance. [02]

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that Medicare has approved. These plans are also called Medicare Part C. Your parents can join a Medicare Advantage plan if they’re already enrolled in both Part A and Part B.[03] Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare and may also include extra benefits like vision, hearing, and dental.

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Tips to save money on assisted living costs

Although Medicare should cover most of a senior’s health care expenses, it’s unlikely to offset the cost of assisted living. Fortunately, there are a few ways to help reduce the costs of assisted living. Consider the options below:
  • Prioritize amenities. When choosing an assisted living community, look for features that matter the most to your parent. Usually, the more amenities and programs a community offers, the more expensive it’ll be. If you know your parent won’t utilize these things, consider choosing a community with fewer bells and whistles.
  • Downsize. Usually, the larger a suite is, the more expensive it will be. Save money by choosing a smaller floor plan instead of a larger one. If your parent enjoys being active and out and about, they may not need as much space in their suite.
  • Share a suite. If you only have one parent moving to assisted living, consider encouraging them to live with a suitemate. By doing this, you can save money on monthly costs, and your parent can avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Location. Consider where your parent is looking to live. If they live in a major city, prices will typically be higher than prices in suburban or rural areas.

Planning for the future

Although Medicare won’t pay for assisted living costs, there are ways to save money and other sources of funding to consider. A Senior Care Advisor can help you find the right assisted living community for your parents, schedule tours, and explore financial assistance options to cover their care.


  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. What’s Medicare?

  2. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Compare Original Medicare & Medicare Advantage.

  3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2023, January). Understanding Medicare Advantage & Medicare Drug Plan Enrollment Periods.

Meet the Author
Michaela Kitchen

Michaela Kitchen is a copywriter at OurParents. She focuses on senior living trends, resources relevant to the families of seniors, senior lifestyle tips, and health care. Previously, she worked in television and print journalism, social media management, and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in journalism and mass communication.

Reviewed byLetha Sgritta McDowell

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