Understanding Costs of CCRC
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.
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.
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.
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.