It is not uncommon to feel frustrated when trying to compare the costs of assisted living options and communities. The services vary based on residents’ needs; the communities vary based on the amenities provided; and payment models themselves vary, too.
When evaluating the costs of assisted living, ensure you know exactly what is included and what is NOT included in any quoted price. One pricing model may include all services, called an all-inclusive pricing model, while another may be an à la carte system where services add up each month based on use.
Comparing Apples To Apples With Assisted Living Costs
Don’t make the mistake of comparing one community’s monthly fee to the next without knowing all the details. For example, the monthly fee at one community may include all housing and care, whereas another community’s monthly fee may be only for housing.
A tiered pricing model may allow your loved one to move in at a lower rate with less care assistance and then move into another tier of pricing, if he or she ever needs more assistance.
An à la carte system allows you to pay only for what you use. However, take time to ask about the price charged for each service, even those not currently needed. Personal care charges could add up quickly or change suddenly based on an unexpected need.
What would it cost if mobility assistance was needed on a daily basis? Could this add $1,000 or more in à la carte charges to the monthly fee?
3 Common Assisted Living Payment Models
- All-inclusive – One total monthly fee includes housing, meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, personal care assistance, and all community amenities.
- Tiered or level-of-care pricing – Monthly fees are set based on the level of care provided. It may be all inclusive covering housing, meals, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, community amenities, and the personal care assistance offered within that level-of-care pricing.
- Fee for service (or à la carte) – Personal care is charged separately and often calculated by accumulated hours. This is in addition to a monthly fee for housing, meals, and housekeeping.
Eskaton Assisted Living Pricing Structure
At Eskaton, a tiered level-of-care pricing structure is used. The cost of assisted living includes housing and care together, with four price levels based on the needed care.
“We like combining the housing and care together so we can be very transparent and upfront from the beginning. We don’t want there to be any hidden costs or unexpected fees that the family was unaware of,” says Terry Ervin, Vice President of Residential Services at Eskaton. “This model works really well for us.”
No matter which pricing model works best for you, ensure you know what’s included and what’s not included, and plan ahead for the future.