Retirement Communities in North Carolina
North Carolina is one of the stop states for retirement and active adult retirement communities. With a diverse landscape ranging from Atlantic Ocean beaches to the Appalachian Mountains. North Carolina offers city living in Charlotte, academia in the Triangle, and charming small towns spotted throughout the state.
Retirement in North Carolina offers access to a wide range of activities and attractions that appeal to seniors. National parks including The Blue Ridge National Parkway, the Great Smokey Mountains, Cape Hatteras Seashore and Cape Lookout are state treasures. Sports include year-round golfing and tennis, skiing at mountain resorts, fishing, and hunting. For those who prefer to be a spectator North Carolina is home to the NFL Charlotte Panthers, NHL Carolina Hurricanes, 2 minor league baseball teams, annual PGA events, and several ACC teams. Other popular places to visit in North Carolina include The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the battleship in Wilmington, Grandfather Mountain, the Wright Brothers monument and The Lost Colony in the Outer Banks, world renowned golf courses in Pinehurst, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, and the NASCAR museum in Charlotte.
Retirees in North Carolina experience an overall humid subtropical climate with the exception of the Appalachian Mountain range in the west. North Carolina is generally cooler in the wintertime with average temperatures in the 50s and an average temperature around 90 in middle of summertime. The mountains in the western part of the state often act as a shield blocking storms from the Midwest from entering the eastern part of the state.
Taxes In North Carolina
The North Carolina (NC) state sales tax rate is currently 4.75%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 7.25%, food is subject to a 2% county tax. North Carolina collects a flat income tax of 5.75% (2015). In North Carolina Social Security benefits are exempt. Real estate is assessed at 100% of appraised value however homeowners 65 and older may qualify for a homestead exemption.
CCRCs In North Carolina
One of the most important decisions a senior will make is where to live. There are many housing options for today’s retirees. Planning ahead for the later stages of retirement can help you and your loved ones avoid difficult, and often costly, situations in the future.
For seniors age 55+ who want a residence that allows them to be independent and active today but are equipped to provide for their future healthcare needs CCRCs, also known as life plan communities, are an excellent option.
What Is A Continuing Care Retirement Community?
Continuing care retirement communities in North Carolina are defined by the Department of Insurance as “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.” Sometimes referred to as Full Service Retirement Communities or Life Plan Communities, CCRCs in North Carolina are the only type of retirement community that offer residents access to a full continuum of care; ranging from independent living to assisted living and/or skilled nursing care. (See an explanation of CCRC contract types)
CCRCs are generally a collection of apartments, townhomes, 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.
Regulating North Carolina’s CCRCs
There are currently thirty-eight states that regulate CCRCs through various state divisions such as insurance, financial services, aging or elder services, or social services. The state regulations vary drastically and must be considered on a state by state basis.
There are fifty-eight continuing care retirement communities in North Carolina regulated through the NC Department of Insurance. The NC DOI requires a number of documents to be submitted annually to the state, including a disclosure statement, actuarial studies, audited financial statements, and much more. They also have strict cash reserve requirements and escrow requirements related to entry fees for start-up communities.
Healthcare-related regulations are different from financial regulation of CCRCs and life plan retirement communities in North Carolina. For instance, if the healthcare facility located on a CCRC campus is Medicare or Medicaid- certified it will be regulated by the appropriate agency within the state. But these agencies do not regulate the overall operations, residency contracts, and financial management of the community.
Common Entry Requirements For North Carolina Life Plan Communities
Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina have entry requirements, they vary by location but may include some or all of the following:
- Minimum age requirements as allowed by the Housing for Older Persons Act.
- Entry fee to cover the housing unit’s cost and other services and amenities, including contractually provided access to health care. The entry fee may also help keep monthly services fees lower than they might be at a comparable rental community.
- Medicare and possibly a Medicare supplement policy, or a similar private-pay plan.
- Medical reviews. Providers will often request medical records, talk with a prospective resident’s primary care physician, or request a health exam. The specific type of contract offered by the community will determine the degree of emphasis placed on this requirement.
- Will, healthcare power of attorney, and durable power of attorney.
- Assets and savings equal to a multiple of the entry fee. A typical range is between 2-4 times the entry fee, but this can vary.
- Monthly income equal to a multiple of the monthly service fee. The range is usually similar to that required for assets and savings.
Why Do Some Retirement Communities Require Entry Fees?
The vast majority of North Carolina CCRCs require an entry fee. The entry fee for Life Plan communities serves several purposes. First and foremost, it secures a resident’s contractual and priority access to a continuum of care. A CCRC uses the money received from entry fees to help pay down, or limit, the amount of debt required for development, expansion, or long-term capital projects, which keep the community attractive and competitive in the marketplace. Lastly, many Life Plan communities- particularly non-profit providers- offer a financial assistance or endowment fund to help ensure that if a resident runs out of money due to a longer than average stay in the healthcare facility, or some other unforeseen circumstance, they will not be forced to leave the community.
Additional Information On Ccrc Retirement Communities In North Carolina
For detailed information on CCRCs in North Carolina My LifeSite is a valuable resource. My Life Site offers reports on top-rated CCRCs and Lifecare communities in our continuing care retirement community directory and proprietary database. My LifeSite will equip you with the information you need and questions to ask as you begin contacting retirement communities directly. Our independent reports provide everything you need to make an informed decision including retirement community pricing, important contract details, healthcare aspects, and more.