What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, continuing care is defined by the North Carolina General Statutes as, “… the furnishing to an individual other than an individual related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the person furnishing the care, of lodging together with nursing services, medical services, or other health related services pursuant to an agreement effective for the life of the individual or for a period longer than one year.” Continuing Care Retirement Communities (“CCRCs”) are unique to the area of long-term care in that they provide various levels of care within one community to older adults.

In general, CCRCs are communities that provide a continuum of care to older adults under a contract for the life of an individual or for a period longer than one year. Typically there are three levels/stages of care offered by CCRCs:
1. Independent Living – is for individuals who are capable of doing the basic chores of everyday life but who may need occasional help from others.
2. Assisted Living – provides assistance for residents with chronic care needs excluding complete 24-hour skilled nursing care. Assisted living services include helping a resident with bathing, dressing, taking medications, and other daily activities.
3. Skilled Nursing Care – generally provides 24-hour nursing care, rehabilitative services, and assistance with activities of daily living to the chronically ill as well as those who have been hospitalized for an illness or operation and require a short period of rehabilitation before returning home.

CCRCs are generally a collection of apartments, town homes, or cottages and include common activity areas such as a library, activity and craft rooms, a restaurant-like dining room, an assisted living facility, and a nursing home. Other amenities often include banking services, convenience stores, a golf course, walking trails, gardens, swimming pool, fitness center, beauty/barber shops, and guest accommodations.

Entrance Fees for Continuing Care Retirement Communities

There is usually a large up front payment called an entrance fee required to enter a CCRC. The amount of the entrance fee may depend on the size and type of dwelling you choose, your age, or the type of refund plan you choose. Entrance fees for North Carolina CCRCs range from a few thousand dollars to $900,000. However, a typical entrance fee would range anywhere from $50,000 to $350,000. Entrance fee refund plans typically fall within one of the following categories:

1. Full Refund – Full refunds are rare, but sometimes offered. A fixed charge may be deducted before the refund is made and the agreement will state for how long the refund is valid and usually under what conditions a refund is due. Entry fees that offer full refunds are typically more expensive than those without refunds or those that are refundable partially or on a declining basis.
2. Partial Refund – Partially refundable entry fees guarantee that a specific percentage of the entrance fee will be refunded. For example, certain contracts guarantee that ninety percent (90%) or fifty percent (50%) of the entrance fee will be refunded upon the death of the resident or termination of the contract.
3. Declining Refund – With this type of refund, the agreement made specifies a period of time during which the entrance fee will be refundable to the resident on a declining basis. For example, if an entrance fee is refundable and declines at the rate of one percent (1%) per month, then eighty-eight percent (88%) of the entrance fee would be refundable after twelve (12) months.
4. No Refund – Under this type of contract no refund is given.

In addition to the entrance fee, a resident is usually expected to pay a monthly fee. Monthly fees for CCRCs in North Carolina can range from several hundred dollars up to just over $3,000. However, monthly fees will typically fall within the $1,100 to $4,000 per month range.

Disclosure Statement

One of the most important documents you will receive from a continuing care provider will be the disclosure statement. This document is required by law to be given to the person with whom a continuing care contract is being entered into, at the time of, or prior to, the transfer of any money or other property to a provider by, or on behalf of, a prospective resident. N.C.G.S. § 58-64-20 requires the text of the disclosure statement to contain certain disclosure.

Take your time reading the disclosure statement, and do not be pressured into signing any contract until you have had ample time to read and understand the information contained within it. If after reading the disclosure statement you are confused, or have questions, ask for clarification. You are also highly encouraged to seek professional advice from an attorney and/or accountant prior to signing any contract for continuing care.

Copies of all current disclosure statements are available for viewing at the offices of the North Carolina Department of Insurance in Raleigh, NC and on the North Carolina Department of Insurance website (www.ncdoi.com).

For More Information: www.ncdoi.com
See Also: Top North Carolina Retirement Towns Can't Find the Information You Are Looking For? Let us know.