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Understanding Costs of CCRC

Aug 30, 2016

Understanding Costs of CCRC

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Similar to assisted living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRC’s are usually non-profit, government-assisted communities that allow senior residents the benefits of living in a stress-free environment. Because CCRC costs are not subject to outside regulation, there can be a lot of variation between continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). A number of factors influence CCRC costs, and understanding these factors can help you determine what you’ll be paying for if you move into a CCRC. While CCRC costs may seem higher than other types of long-term care at first, they can actually be lower overall when spread out over a lifetime. The difference between CCRC’s and the average assisted living residence is the variety of care options available for you or your loved one.

CCRC Contracts and Costs

One of the main differences between a CCRC and the average assisted living community is the ability to choose a contract that best suits your needs.

  • Life Care or Extended Contract: This is the most expensive option, but offers unlimited assisted living, medical treatment and skilled nursing care without additional charges.
  • Modified Contract: This contract offers a set of services provided for a set length of time. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but for higher monthly fees.
  • Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at their market rates.

Entrance Fee

For CCRC’s, residents will usually have to pay a one-time only entrance fee when they sign an initial contract. Think of this fee as a down payment on the house. Because the entrance fee usually covers your health care costs, it is usually the most significant cost unless there is a buy-in fee. Entrance fees start at as low as $20,000 for a non-purchase (rental) agreement, and buy-in fees weigh in among the most expensive CCRC costs, running up to $500,000 or more depending on the size and location of your unit as well as the community.

Buy-in fees are also relatively new, and allow you to purchase the property so it can be sold or handed down through your legal will. Since you will actually be purchasing the estate, the buy-in fee is much more expensive.

Monthly Fees

These monthly fees are similar to other assisted living communities. They usually cost between $500 and $3000 per month and cover basic bills like cable, water, electricity, and trash. Some CCRCs offer a pay-as-you-go option in which you would pay only monthly fees. This is essentially a month-to-month rental option and has the potential to be very expensive if you require health care (for which you have not prepaid with an entrance fee) down the road.

Insurance Options

Another major factor that affects CCRC costs is health insurance, which can help bring down your share of the costs. Medicare and Medicaid programs can help offset those costly medical bills. Many CCRC’s will require you to sign up for Medicare or another SSI program to ensure that they get paid for the services you or your loved one use. These insurance plans can help pay for at-home care, medication, and a variety of other medical benefits.

There are a variety of contracts and insurance plans to choose from, so be sure to find the right match when looking into a CCRC.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who lives in CCRCs?

Each community is different, but most people living in CCRCs are from 55-65 years of age. Some may have age requirements, while others may not or just don’t actively enforce this rule. Even people on CCRC waitlists are mostly between the ages of 55 and 65.

Throughout the country, CCRCs cater to just about every spiritual preference, lifestyle, and orientation. Finding a community that holds your same core values means you’ll be around lots of like-minded people with whom to enjoy the golden years of retirement. 

It really is important to develop a network of friends and acquaintances during your stay at a CCRC, but it isn't usually hard when you've found a great fitting environment. That’s what really makes it a community!

If only one spouse is outside of this common age limit, it may be possible for couples to move to a CCRC given a particular facility’s policy. In some cases, adult children who are dependent on a parent moving to a CCRC will also be allowed to make the transition. It’s not always a guarantee but check with your prospective CCRC to get an entire rundown of the options.

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When should CCRC be considered?

The earlier one can move to a continuing care retirement community the better. This care type is designed for seniors who are still very active and healthy enough to live full, independent lives. Most of these communities provide premium amenities and recreational opportunities tailored to seniors. Since CCRCs allow individuals to transition seamlessly from one care type to the next, they represent the most flexible and comprehensive senior care type out there. These communities often require a relatively pricey entrance fee, however, they are a great option for seniors looking to focus on enjoying their golden years without fretting over home maintenance or other frivolities. 

 

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