What Are the Industry Pricing Models?


According to Johanna Miller, Benchmark’s Senior Director of Finance, there are several pricing models in the senior living industry for Assisted Living and Memory Care. Similar to standard apartment residency fees, senior living residency fees can be affected by the geography (location) and affluence of the town or city in which the community is located. 

1. A La Carte / Fee for Service

In a fee for service assisted living community, the residency fee component is based on unit and care type. As an example, you may be able to choose between a shared apartment, studio unit, one bedroom or two bedroom unit in assisted living — all with different price points. Most providers also offer different price levels for care — ranging from nominal to full assistance with dining, dressing, and medication management. 

Care is determined by a nursing assessment. When comparing providers, ensure your comparisons are measuring the same thing. 

As an example: most providers offer a base level of care, but what is included in that base level can be very different. How an assessment is developed and utilized can also be very different. 

Elizabeth Bryant, Senior Managing Director of Operations, shares that Benchmark applies a personalized level of care approach determined by the level of assistance needed. Other approaches evaluate the time it takes to complete an activity of daily living. Benchmark also factors in the associate qualifications required to provide the best care needed for the resident.    

As a resident ages in place, it may be determined that more care is required. Be sure to understand what happens to cost when your care needs change, what the assessment process is within the communities, and the adjusted costs as needs change.

2. A La Carte / Fee for Service with Base Care Included in the Rent

Certain providers include minimal care in their residency fees. This can include reminders for dinner and community events. Increased need for care is addressed and managed the same way as fee for service. 

3. All Inclusive

In an all-inclusive program, the majority of care and medication cost are included in the rental fee. It is important to understand exactly what is and what is not included under this pricing option. For example, what happens if mom can no longer feed herself, or walk by herself; what happens if mom is at a higher risk for falls, or what happens if mom’s care exceeds what the community can provide? Do I then need to get private caregiver assistance and how much more will that care cost? It is also important to ask what the annual increase has historically been for an all-inclusive program.

4. Low income Subsidies

In certain assisted living communities, low income subsidy programs might be available through local, state or federal agencies. Families should inquire and be aware that there are usually financial conditions that must be met. Be sure to ask if care is included and, if so, how much is covered. Often communities have limits or waiting lists for these programs. Understanding both the criteria for participation and the projected waiting time before a resident could expect to benefit from a subsidy program is an important step in your decision-making process.

Did you know Benchmark has a toll free number devoted to handling your financial services questions? Call 888-325-8601 or learn more about our Benchmark Financial Concierge program here.

Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations. 
Want to share a comment or ask question: openconversations@benchmarkquality.com
Content for Open Conversations was developed in partnership with Caregiving Advice.

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