Seniors looking for a quiet retirement may find the mountainous beauty of Wyoming appealing. The country’s least-populated state is home to just 578,000 people and around 17% of residents are aged 65 and older. Although it’s a sparsely populated state, seniors can still access quality health care from hospitals such as the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Although it may not be the first state you think of when considering retirement, the 2022 Senior Living Report ranks it 12th in the nation. Wyoming also placed ninth for affordability, in part because there’s no state income tax, and property and sales tax rates are lower than the national averages. Assisted living costs are also below the U.S. median at $4,169 per month. Wyoming’s low crime rates and comfortable summer weather add to its attractiveness as a retirement destination.

This guide provides an overview of the cost of assisted living and other senior care options in the state. You can also find information about financial assistance for assisted living, rules and regulations for facilities and resources available to help seniors in Wyoming.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Wyoming

According to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Wyoming costs an average of $4,169 per month. This is more affordable than the national average of $4,500. When compared to costs in neighboring states, Wyoming is in the middle of the range. Colorado has the highest average cost at $4,750, and the rate in Montana is also higher than what seniors pay in Wyoming at $4,450. Nebraska and Idaho are more affordable, with average statewide rates of $4,076 and $3,838, respectively. South Dakota is the least expensive of Wyoming’s neighbors, with seniors there paying an average of $3,350 per month for assisted living. 

$4169

Wyoming

$4500

The United States

$4450

Montana

$3838

Idaho

$4750

Colorado

$4076

Nebraska

$3350

South Dakota

Average assisted living costs in both of Wyoming’s largest cities are higher than the statewide median. Seniors in Casper pay $4,844 per month, and in Cheyenne the average cost rises to $5,538. Cities in neighboring states offer more affordable assisted living options. In Billings, Montana, seniors pay $4,564, and in Fort Collins, Colorado, the average monthly cost is $4,000. The lowest rates are found in Rapid City, South Dakota, at $3,914 per month. 

$4844

Casper

$5538

Cheyenne

$4564

Billings, MT

$4000

Fort Collins, CO

$3914

Rapid City, SD

There are other senior living options available in Wyoming that may suit your needs. Adult day health care is the most affordable at $1,733 per month. Other types of care are more expensive than assisted living. Home care and home health care services in the state average $5,529 per month. A semiprivate room in a nursing home costs $6,996, while private rooms average $7,635, making this the least affordable option available. 

$4169

Assisted Living

$5529

Home Care

$5529

Home Health Care

$1733

Adult Day Health Care

$6996

Nursing Home Care (semiprivate)

$7635

Nursing Home Care (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Wyoming?

Although Medicaid in Wyoming doesn’t provide covered assisted living care directly, there’s a waiver program that can help pay for services received in an assisted living facility. The program provides either assisted living or home-based care to help seniors cover the cost of care in the community. It’s known as the Community Choices Home and Community Based Services Waiver, or CCW for short.

The CCW provides a range of services designed to delay a senior’s admission to a nursing home and is only available for those who need a high level of care. It does allow participants to choose their own providers, although this isn’t relevant for people who opt for assisted living. The waiver program has limited spots available, so some applicants may be put on a waiting list.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Wyoming? 

The CCW provides a range of long-term care services to people assessed as needing a nursing home level of care but who prefer to remain living in the community, whether at home or in an assisted living facility. This can include homemaker, personal care and medication management services. Wyoming Medicaid doesn’t cover the cost of room and board, and it’s also important to note that not all services are available in all areas. 

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Wyoming

Community Choices Home and Community Based Services Waiver

The CCW program serves people aged 65 and older and those aged between 19 and 64 who have a disability that meets the Social Security Administration’s criteria. It provides services that help people remain living at home or in a community setting. 

To be eligible for the CCW program, applicants must meet certain criteria relating to their residency, finances and functional abilities. In particular, applicants must require a nursing home level of care and meet the financial eligibility requirements for the Medicaid Special HCBS Waiver Group. 

Participants are partnered with a case manager to determine their needs and arrange the necessary services. A core philosophy of the program is that participants should direct their own care. This means that you can choose whether to receive services in your home, the home of a relative or an assisted living facility. Your case manager can discuss your options and help you decide what’s right for you. 

Benefits of the program include personal care, meals, some skilled nursing services and personal emergency response systems. Assisted living is listed as a benefit. The department defines this as “personal care and supportive services in a residential setting and includes 24-hour on-site response to meet resident needs.” 

The application process for the CCW begins with a referral to the program. This is often made by the Client Services Unit when an individual applies for Medicaid, but can also be made by hospitals, seniors centers, family and friends. After being referred, you must complete applications for both Medicaid and the waiver before a determination can be made. If you wish to be referred to the program, contact the Benefits and Eligibility Specialist in your area or call the Long Term Care Eligibility Unit at (855) 203-2823. 

How To Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Wyoming

Wyoming Medicaid is designed to help low-income people access health care coverage, so finances are one of the main eligibility criteria. The exact eligibility requirements depend on your circumstances and the program you’re applying for. 

A single person applying for the CCW must have an income less than $17,131 per year, with assets of less than $2,000. For married couples where both spouses are applying, the income limit is $23,169 and the asset limit is $3,000. 

When only one spouse is applying, the income limit is also $23,169 per year, and the asset limit is $2,000 for the applicant. However, the non-applicant spouse can have assets worth up to $137,400. They may also be entitled to a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance as established by the Spousal Impoverishment Act. This allows the applicant to transfer some of their income to their non-applicant spouse to ensure their living expenses can be met. 

Not all assets are counted when determining Medicaid eligibility. Personal belongings, a burial fund, life insurance policies and an automobile are generally excluded. If a non-applicant spouse remains living in the couple’s, it’s also exempt. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Wyoming

.

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$17,131 

$2,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$23,169 

$2,000 applicant

$137,400 non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$23,169 

$3,000

To qualify for the CCW program, you must also be:

  • A Wyoming resident
  • A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has lived in the United States for at least 5 years
  • Age 65 or older, blind or disabled
  • In need of a nursing home level of care

How To Apply for Medicaid in Wyoming

Seniors can apply for Medicaid via the online portal, by phone or by completing a paper application. Phone applications can be made by calling (855) 294-2127. Paper applications can be downloaded from the Department of Health website and returned to the customer service center in Cheyenne via fax, mail or in person. 

After an application has been approved, participants complete an initial health assessment, which is a questionnaire about their needs and health. Older adults are often referred to the CCW after completing this questionnaire; however, you can also call the Community-Based Services Unit at (855) 203-2823 to request a referral. 

Information You Will Need 

The Department of Health will ask for documentation to process your application. Generally, applicants must provide proof of:

  • Identity
  • Age
  • Citizenship or immigration status
  • Social Security Number
  • Income
  • Health insurance policies
  • Assets

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

Wyoming has a number of resources that can help older adults apply for Medicaid. The Medicaid office has customer service staff who can answer general questions, and a specialized team that assists with long-term care queries. The department has also published a handbook for people applying for and participating in the program. Finally, there’s a health insurance information program that can assist with Medicaid inquiries. 

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Medicaid: (855) 294-2127

Long Term Care Unit: (855) 203-2930

Wyoming Medicaid has customer service staff members available to answer questions about applying for the program. They can assist you in applying for regular Medicaid, while the Long Term Care Unit can help if you’ve started an application for the waiver program. 

Online

The CCW Participant Handbook has detailed information about the waiver, including benefits and eligibility criteria. It also describes the application process, provides information about how to make a referral and lists contact numbers for starting a waiver application. 

(800) 856-4398

WSHIIP has over 80 volunteers spread across the state who can help seniors understand their health insurance options, including Medicaid, Medicare and long-term care insurance. This is a free service, and the trained counselors provide unbiased, confidential advice and help solve health insurance problems.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Wyoming?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Wyoming. 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 Wyoming.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Wyoming

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 Wyoming

There are a variety of free and low-cost resources available to assist seniors in Wyoming. These services are provided by government and nonprofit agencies and can help older adults access benefits and find support. 

Resource 

Contact 

Service 

(307) 777-7995 or (800) 442-2766

The Aging Division oversees a number of programs designed to support Wyoming seniors. This includes health and wellness initiatives, senior centers, nutrition programs and volunteer opportunities. It also administers programs that provide in-home support, which may benefit those waiting to transition to assisted living, including the Family Caregiver Support and Wyoming Home Services programs.

(800) 833-5987

Seniors who served in the U.S. military can access programs and services through the Wyoming Veterans Commission. Veteran service officers can help seniors identify federal and state benefits they may be eligible for that may help them cover assisted living costs and assist with processing claims. The state also has Vet Centers in Cheyenne and Casper that provide counseling and have officers available to help individuals apply for benefits.  

(307) 777-2885

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for people living in residential care facilities, including assisted living communities. With a resident’s consent, they can help to solve issues regarding admissions, meals, billing and more. The ombudsman also educates people about residents’ rights and provides information and consultations to the staff and administrators of long-term care facilities. 

(800) 856-4398

Wyoming Senior Citizens, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides services to meet the needs of the state’s older residents. It provides health insurance counseling, volunteer opportunities and companionship programs. The organization also administers some government programs in certain parts of the state, including the Long Term Care Ombudsman and Senior Medicare Patrol programs.

(800) 442-2766

The Wyoming ADRC maintains an online database of resources that can help older adults and people with disabilities. The database can be searched by keyword, location or type of service, so you can easily find the support you require. Staff members are also available to assist with using the site.

COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Wyoming

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including health.wyo.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 3/26/2022, 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 Wyoming 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 Wyoming 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 Wyoming 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 Wyoming

Healthcare Licensing and Surveys, a division of the Wyoming Department of Health, licenses and conducts inspections of assisted living facilities in the state. Facilities must comply with the state regulations regarding, staffing and buildings to ensure a high standard of care is provided to residents.

WYOMING LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements 

A registered nurse must conduct an initial assessment of each resident’s needs on admission to determine their functional capacity, physical condition and ability to perform ADLs. Assessments must be completed at least annually. These assessments are used to create a personalized plan outlining the services to be provided. 

Assisted Living Admission Requirements 

Residents must have a history and physical examination completed by a physician within 90 days prior to admission. Upon admission, the facility must confirm the resident’s medication regimen and any special treatment required. All new residents must be screened for TB, flu and pneumococcal immunization at the time of admission unless it's contraindicated. 

Assisted Living Scope of Care 

Core services offered by assisted living facilities include providing meals, housekeeping, personal and laundry services in a safe, clean environment. Communities must also provide assistance with local transportation and obtaining health care and social services. All assisted living facilities must offer recreational activities. 

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy 

The Community Choices Waiver can help Medicaid-eligible residents of Wyoming fund assisted living care. This waiver doesn’t pay for room and board and spots in the program are limited. Assisted living facilities can't accept Medicaid-based subsidies, so individuals should ask about acceptable payment options before deciding on a facility. 

Assisted Living Facility Requirements 

The size of sleeping accommodations are regulated for both single- and multiple-bed rooms. Multiple-bedrooms can only sleep two residents, no matter the size. Two residents may share a single-bed room if they wish, as long as the bed provided is at least a double size. There must be at least one toilet for every two beds, and one shower or bathtub for every 10 beds. All multiple-story buildings must have an elevator. In addition, the building must be accessible to a physician or emergency medical services within a 30-minute drive. 

Medication Management Regulations 

Facilities must keep individual records for each resident that notes the dates and times of each prescription drug administered. All prescription medications must be dispensed from a licensed pharmacy. 

A medication review must be conducted by an RN every 2 months or when medications are changed or new ones prescribed. The RN is responsible for the supervision and management of medication administration according to state laws. Unlicensed staff can only provide assistance, for example opening pill bottles.

Staffing Requirements 

There must be enough staff on-site to meet the needs of a facility's residents and ensure an appropriate level of care is provided. There must be at least one RN, licensed practical nurse or certified nursing assistant on duty each shift. In addition, there must be at least one staff member awake at all times. 

Staff Training Requirements 

New staff members must receive an orientation that covers resident rights, evacuation and emergency procedures. They must also receive training and supervision designed to improve the care of residents. 

Facility managers must have completed post-secondary education in health care, elder care or a related subject. Alternatively, they can have at least 2 years of experience working with elderly or disabled individuals. 

Background Checks for Assisted Living 

All staff must successfully complete the State of Wyoming Division of Family Services Central Registry Screening before they have direct contact with residents. 

Requirements for Reporting Abuse 

Allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation must be reported to the resident’s family or a responsible party. These instances should also be reported to the local police or sheriff’s department or by calling Adult Protective Services at (800) 457-3659.