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Nursing home costs: what you have to pay for and what the nursing care fund is for

Anyone who has decided to move to a nursing home should not only pay attention to the equipment and location when looking for the right facility. The prices can also vary from home to home. We explain how the costs for a home place are made up and which parts you have to pay yourself.

This is how the costs in the nursing home are composed

The cost of living in a nursing home is made up of various items. Nursing home operators can charge fees for the following points:

  • Costs for care and support
  • Food and accommodation costs
  • Investment costs
  • if applicable, training contribution
  • if applicable, costs for additional services

If you have made regular contributions to statutory or private long-term care insurance and your need for long-term care has been confirmed by an expert, you will receive a subsidy towards the costs of care and support. You pay the rest of the costs yourself.

These care costs are covered by the care insurance

If an expert from the Medical Service of the Health Insurance (MDK) or your private long-term care insurance has confirmed that you are in need of care, you will receive a monthly allowance for care costs. How much this grant is depends on the level of care that has been set for you. The level of care reflects how much help you need. A person with care level 1 needs comparatively little support. A home resident with care level 5 is no longer able to carry out everyday activities himself and needs a lot of support.

From care level 2, the care fund pays benefits to the care home. The services are staggered:

Care level 2 = 770 euros
Care level 3 = 1,262 euros
Care level 4 = 1,775 euros
Care level 5 = 2,005 euros

If you have the Care level 1 and decide to move into a nursing home, you will receive a grant of 125 euros.

You pay these maintenance costs yourself

As a rule, the care costs are higher than the benefits of the care insurance. Therefore, you have to pay part of the maintenance costs yourself. in the Care level 1 you pay the majority of the care costs yourself, because you only receive a small subsidy of 125 euros per month.
From the Care level 2 applies: You pay the so-called Institutional own contribution (EEE). Every home resident pays - this has been stipulated by law since January 2017 - regardless of the level of care equal share of the care costs like the other residents of the home. How high this co-payment is, however, differs from home to home. So it is worth taking a look at the price list.

Good to know: Since the unit-level share is not linked to your level of care, you do not have to worry about additional costs should you need more care. You can find out what you need to consider when changing the level of care in the nursing home in our corresponding article. In addition to the care costs, there are costs for accommodation and meals, investments and possibly costs for additional services when staying at home. These costs will be Not taken over by the long-term care insurance.

Accommodation and food costs

As a person in need of care, you have to pay the costs for accommodation and meals yourself. This includes, for example, expenses for meals and room cleaning. With a few exceptions, these costs are the same for all residents.

You do not have to pay the full cost of meals if your health is not in a position to take in the food. If the health status of a resident is so limited that nutrition is exclusively or predominantly via a gastric tube (PEG), the home operator must reduce the cost of meals.

The cost of accommodation must be reduced in the event of a longer absence. More information can be found here.

Important to know: If the nursing company changes its calculation position for food and accommodation, you may have to reckon with an increase in wages. For more information on this topic, see the article Price increase in the nursing home - in these cases it is possible.

Investment costs

Investment costs are costs for renovation or expansion measures, modernization work or maintenance. A new elevator, the renovation of the common rooms, but also fire protection measures are costs that a care company may have to invest. The expenses for this are converted to a monthly amount and invoiced to each resident.

If one's own income and assets are not sufficient to pay the investment costs, in some federal states the social welfare agencies contribute to the investment costs with so-called care housing allowance. You can obtain information on this directly from the care facilities or social welfare offices.

Apprenticeship fee

Depending on the home and federal state, the home operator can charge the residents a contribution to the training allowance. This is to finance the costs that arise in the remuneration of trainees in geriatric care and geriatric care assistance.

Additional services

In addition to the usual costs, residents can arrange additional services with the home. Above all, this means comfort services for accommodation and meals and special nursing-care services. The repair of clothing or the use of the common rooms for private parties, an elaborate hairstyle or an individual reading service are examples of additional services.

Good to know: Agreements on additional services must be stipulated in the contract. They may only be invoiced if they are recorded in writing.

What to do if you don't have enough income

If the income and assets together with the payments from the long-term care insurance fund and the nursing home allowance are not sufficient to finance the entire home costs, home residents are entitled to "care assistance" from the social welfare office. You can read here when children have to pay maintenance for their parents.

In addition, you can get advice on the subject of home space costs from one of the following offices: