Situated in the west-central region of the United States, Utah offers scenic mountain views and a mix of urban, suburban and rural environments. The state has nearly 3.3 million residents, and while seniors only make up a little over a tenth of the population, this community is projected to grow quickly over the coming years as the population ages.

Numerous factors make Utah an attractive option for those in their retirement years. It ranks 23rd overall in the 2022 Senior Living Report based on factors across multiple categories, including transportation, affordability and quality of life. The state ranks particularly high in the Affordability category, coming in fifth in the nation, which may appeal to those with budgetary considerations. It’s home to University of Utah Hospital, which is nationally ranked or high-performing in nearly two dozen specialties, procedures and conditions. It also has affordable assisted living rates that come in over 20% below the national median, at $3,500 monthly.  

This guide provides more information on assisted living rates in and around Utah and highlights options for covering care costs. It also gives an overview of some nonprofit agencies and programs that serve seniors and breaks down the regulations local assisted living facilities follow. 

The Cost of Assisted Living in Utah

The Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey, which outlines long-term care costs in communities across the country, shows that seniors in Utah pay $3,500 per month for assisted living. This is $1,000 lower than the national median of $4,500, indicating that it’s among the most cost-effective options in the nation for care. Local care costs are also affordable compared to rates in bordering states. In Nevada, monthly fees are a little higher at $3,750, and in Idaho, seniors pay $3,838. In Arizona, assisted living facilities charge $4,000 per month, and in Colorado, fees exceed the national average at $4,750.

$3500

Utah

$4500

The United States

$3838

Idaho

$3750

Nevada

$4000

Arizona

$4750

Colorado

Assisted living rates range by a few hundred dollars throughout Utah, but surveyed care costs in all major cities are competitive compared to the national median. In Logan, rates are the lowest in the state at $3,300, and in Salt Lake City, fees are roughly the same at $3,310. In St. George, older adults pay $3,500 for services, and assisted living facilities in the Ogden area charge $3,663. In the Provo area, fees are slightly higher at $3,695.  

$3300

Logan

$3663

Ogden Area

$3310

Salt Lake City

$3695

Provo Area

$3500

St. George

Assisted living is among the cheapest senior care options in Utah at $3,500 per month for services. Adult day health care is cheaper at $1,939 and may be an affordable alternative for those with minimal living expenses. Seniors who obtain care in their own homes pay $5,625 for basic home care services, and specialized home health care services are a little more expensive at $5,720. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care available outside a hospital setting and have the costliest monthly fees of $7,178 for shared rooms and $9,125 for private accommodations.  

$3500

Assisted Living

$5625

Home Care

$5720

Home Health Care

$1939

Adult Day Health Care

$7178

Nursing Home Care (semiprivate)

$9125

Nursing Home Care (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Utah?

Utah’s Medicaid program provides comprehensive health insurance coverage to income-qualifying individuals within the state. While this program doesn’t pay for assisted living services directly, it does provide this coverage through the New Choices Waiver program. This program is primarily for those living in nursing homes who want to move back into their own home, but it can also pay for care for those who want to transition to an assisted living facility, as long as the facility can accommodate their needs.  

Utah Medicaid is an entitlement program that guarantees benefits to everyone who meets eligibility guidelines. The New Choices Waiver has limited slots, most of which are for those who currently live in a nursing home but want to transition to assisted living.  

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Utah? 

Under the New Choices Waiver, Utah’s Medicaid program helps seniors and those with disabilities who are living in a nursing home to transition to a less intensive environment, including their home or an assisted living facility. The program pays upfront costs to help individuals transfer out of a nursing home, along with additional benefits such as assistive technology, respite care, personal emergency response systems and durable medical equipment. 

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Utah 

New Choices Waiver 

The New Choices Waiver pays for services and supports for those who require nursing home level care but want to live in an assisted living facility. It includes a range of benefits and services to reduce individuals’ out-of-pocket long-term care expenses. This includes: 

  • Adult day health care
  • Assisted living
  • Attendant care
  • Case management
  • Chore services
  • Emergency response systems
  • Financial management services
  • Medication assistance services  
  • Homemaker services
  • Non-emergency medical transportation
  • Personal budget assistance
  • Respite care
  • Specialized medical equipment 

To be eligible for this waiver, applicants must be at least 65 years old, legal U.S. citizens or residents and permanent residents of Utah. They must also meet financial limits. Seniors may have up to $2,523 in monthly income and up to $2,000 in countable assets. If spouses are applying, these limits are doubled. If only one spouse is applying, only their income is considered. They may have up to $2,000 in countable assets, and the nonapplicant can have up to $137,400.  

Seniors must also have lived in a nursing home for at least 90 days prior to applying for the waiver or at least 365 days in an assisted living facility. The majority of available waiver slots are reserved for those in nursing homes. Only those in this setting can apply for the waiver at any time. Non-reserved slots are open to those in assisted living. There are certain application periods throughout the year. These include: 

  • March 1-March 14
  • July 1-July 14
  • November 1-November 14 

The individual’s application has to be received within five business days of the end of the application period or it will be denied, even if the date stamped on the application is within the open application period.  

Because slots are limited, priority is given to those who’ve been in nursing homes for the longest period of time. Even if someone meets the program’s criteria for financial limits, medical requirements and length of stay, they may still be placed on a waitlist. For those currently in assisted living, the ranking cutoff point is historically considerably longer than 365 days. 

Application materials aren’t available online, but seniors can request a paper application by calling (800) 662-9651 and selecting option 6. Seniors in nursing homes request an application for reserved slots, and those in assisted living request an application for non-reserved slots. They can send completed applications to the UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services and Supports by faxing them to (801) 323-1586. Alternately, they can mail them to:  

UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services & Supports 
P.O. Box 143112 
288 North 1460 West 
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Utah 

To be eligible for Utah’s regular Medicaid program, individuals must meet financial requirements. Single applicants can have up to $1,074 in monthly income. This includes income from all sources, including pension payments, veterans’ benefits, Social Security benefits, IRA withdrawals and stock dividends. They may also have up to $2,000 in countable assets. This includes stocks, bonds, bank accounts, cash and real estate the applicant doesn’t live in. Married applicants can have up to $1,452 in income and $3,000 in countable assets. Spousal impoverishment rules let the applicant transfer income and assets to their spouse under certain circumstances. Seniors whose income and assets exceed these limits may still qualify for services by spending down income and assets or through Medicaid planning.

Applicant 

Annual Income Limit

Asset Limit 

Single Applicant 

$12,888

$2,000 

Married (both spouses applying)

$17,424

$3,000 

Married (one spouse applying) 

$17,424

$3,000 

In addition to meeting financial guidelines, individuals must be legal U.S. citizens or residents and permanent residents of Utah. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Utah 

To obtain Medicaid, seniors submit applications to the Department of Workforce Services online, in person or over the phone. Once they submit an application, the department contacts them by mail or phone. To apply online, seniors visit the MyCase platform. Alternately, they may download a paper application and fax it to (888) 522-9505 or mail it to: 

Department of Workforce Services 
PO Box 143245 
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 

Seniors can also visit their local DWS office and fill out a paper application in person.  

Information You Will Need 

When DWS contacts an applicant, the representative provides a comprehensive list of supporting documents applicants must provide. These may include: 

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income and assets
  • Policy numbers for current health insurance coverage
  • Proof of state residency 

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

Seniors in Utah can get answers to questions regarding Medicaid coverage and the application process from several helplines and nonprofit organizations. The following table features contact information for resources that provide free information, eligibility screenings and advice on the appeals process.

Resource 

Contact 

Description 

(801) 538-6155 (within Salt Lake City) 

(800) 662-9651 (outside Salt Lake City) 

The Medicaid Customer Service line is available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday) and is staffed with specialists who answer questions about applying for coverage, understanding benefits and submitting supporting documents. 

(801) 538-6417 (within Salt Lake City) 

(877) 291-5583 (outside Salt Lake City) 

The Medicaid Member Feedback helpline fields calls from older veterans who have questions about their Medicaid benefits as well as those with concerns or complaints regarding their policies.

Online Only 

The American Council on Aging provides information on Utah Medicaid, including financial eligibility limits, available waivers and qualifying when over the limits. The council can also connect seniors with Medicaid planners who can help them meet eligibility requirements to get coverage. 

Online Only 

The Utah Medicaid Hearings Unit investigates appeals regarding denied or canceled coverage. Seniors can contact this department for impartial assistance if Medicaid denies coverage for medical procedures or in-home or assisted living services they’re entitled to.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Utah?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Utah. Assisted living facilities are considered to be a “residential setting” and not a “clinical setting,” (think nursing homes). While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care received in an assisted living community, it does still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for senior living in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Utah.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Utah

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Assisted Living affordable.

.

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 Assisted Living.

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 Assisted Living. 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 Assisted Living. 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 Assisted Living will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Utah

Utah has numerous nonprofit organizations and government programs that help older adults make informed decisions regarding their long-term care options. Through the following resources, seniors can connect with health insurance options counselors, legal and financial providers and information and referral specialists. These resources can also help seniors find social and recreational programs in their area.  

Resource 

Contact 

Description 

(801) 213-4156 

The Utah Commission on Aging manages the state’s virtual resource center for seniors. Through the COA, seniors can learn about topics related to aging, including financial security, brain health and long-term care. The COA also connects seniors with statewide and regional aging services. 

(801) 538-4171 

There are a dozen regional Area Agencies on Aging in Utah, each of which provides direct and indirect services to those aged 60 and over. Seniors can contact their local AAA for help finding services to supplement what they receive through assisted living, including recreational programs and transportation services. AAAs also have information and referral specialists who help older adults find health and wellness screenings, prescription drug assistance programs and durable medical equipment loans.

(800) 541-7735 

Utah’s Medicare Assistance program is staffed with trained volunteers who help older adults understand Medicare and long-term care insurance coverage, as well as private Medicare options that may help them cover assisted living costs. Volunteers can also help older adults review and understand their medical bills, identify discrepancies and billing errors and dispute denied health insurance claims. All services are free and confidential.

(800) 662-4245 

Utah Legal Services is a statewide nonprofit agency staffed with licensed legal professionals who help qualifying individuals resolve civil legal issues. Seniors can contact the agency for one-on-one help with estate planning, drafting wills and assigning powers of attorney. The agency can also help seniors access public benefits that may help them pay for long-term care costs, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. 

(801) 326-2372 

The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs administers benefits and services to qualifying veterans in the state. This department provides health care benefits, which can reduce out-of-pocket medical costs, along with life insurance, burial benefits and VA benefits claims assistance. 

(801) 538-3924 

The statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates on behalf of Utah residents in assisted living. The ombudsman ensures residents have access to important information such as their rights, upcoming recreational activities and the dining menu. They work with seniors and families to research regional assisted living facilities and options for paying for care. They can also field and investigate reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

(800) 772-1213 

At their local Social Security office, seniors can get replacement Social Security cards, apply for public benefits such as Medicare and Social Security Disability compensation and get income statements. To find their local field office, seniors can search by zip code here.

COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Utah

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including coronavirus.utah.gov and cdc.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 3/18/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Utah Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Utah Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Utah Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Utah

In Utah, the Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Facility Licensing and Certification monitors assisted living facilities and ensures a high standard of care by enforcing regulations. The following table features some key regulations that impact residents’ comfort and quality of life.  

UTAH LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

Residents in assisted living facilities have personalized care plans that reflect their cognitive, medical, physical and social needs. It highlights what services are provided, who provides the services and the frequency. This care plan must be developed within 7 calendar days of admission and updated periodically as needed. Any changes must also be recorded in the care plans, along with the reasons for changes. 

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

Assisted living facilities must outline their admission, retention and discharge policies. Before accepting a new resident, the facility must ensure they can adequately meet the individual’s needs.

Admission requirements depend on whether a facility is a Type I or Type II facility. Type I facilities accept residents who: 

  • Are ambulatory, mobile and could evacuate independently in the event of an emergency 
  • Have stable health
  • Require limited help with daily living activities
  • Don't require total assistance with more than three daily living activities 

Type II facilities admit those who: 

  • Could evacuate with help from one person
  • Require total assistance with more than three daily living activities
  • Are physically disabled but can direct their own care 

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities provide housing, three meals and snacks daily, personal care, housekeeping and laundry services, building maintenance, arrangements for medical and dental services and social and recreational programs.

They may also employ or contract with registered nurses who provide medication administration, nursing services and supervision of care staff. 

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Medicaid covers assisted living services under the New Choices Waiver. This waiver is primarily for those transitioning from nursing home care to assisted living, but limited slots are open for current assisted living residents.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Private resident units have to be at least 120 square feet, and double-occupancy units must be at least 200 square feet. No more than two residents can share a unit and only when both residents submit requests to share in writing. If units don’t have private bathrooms, there must be at least one toilet per six residents and a shower or bathtub for every 10 residents. All facilities are inspected regularly to ensure compliance with emergency preparedness codes. 

Medication Management Regulations

Unlicensed caregivers can help with self-administration, and licensed staff can provide administration. Residents are permitted to self-administer their medications, or they may have a family member or designated person take full responsibility for all medication storage, administration and records. Alternately, the residents can self-administer their medication with staff assistance, or licensed staff or home health agency staff can administer the medication. Residents who rely on insulin can self-administer injections if their doctor determines they are able to do so. 

Staffing Requirements

Assisted living facilities employ an administrator and a 24-hour direct care staff to meet residents’ needs as outlined in their care plans. There are no minimum staffing ratios.

Staff Training Requirements

All staff must complete orientation, which must include topics such as their job description, residents’ rights, emergency preparedness, responsibilities for reporting abuse and ethics. They must also complete on-the-job training.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

All prospective assisted living facility staff are required to undergo criminal background checks before they’re eligible for hire.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

State law requires that anyone who suspects elder abuse notify Adult Protective Services or their local law enforcement agency. Staff, residents, visitors and family members can report concerns regarding abuse, neglect or exploitation to the Department of Human Services Aging and Adult Services Division by calling (800) 371-7897 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Alternately, they can file a report online at any time.