The differences between fee-for-service and life care

Understand your options before you choose

Created date

January 29th, 2020
Take a stroll along the beautiful tree lined paths at Siena Lakes.

Take a stroll along the beautiful tree lined paths at Siena Lakes.

When Siena Lakes—a gorgeous, fee-for-service continuing care retirement community opening on Orange Blossom Drive just east of Airport-Pulling Road—opens, you’ll enjoy a wealth of resort-style amenities in a location you already know and love. 

Today’s senior living landscape is bursting with a variety of financial options, from rental communities to life care. Many of these options require you to predict your future health care needs and pay thousands of dollars in advance, but not at Siena Lakes.

“Our fee-for-service structure ensures that our residents aren’t paying for things that they are not using,” says Fred Moschetta, sales director at Siena Lakes. “Some people may move into an independent living neighborhood and never need additional care, so why should they have to pay for something that they will never use? It’s a fair and simple way to keep our residents happy across the board.”

Three main benefits 

1. Only pay for the care you need, when and if you need it. Siena Lakes is a fee-for-service model. Unlike life care continuing care communities, Siena Lakes won’t require residents to pay for health services they may never use. The community will only charge for higher levels of care if and when needed. It’s an approach that could save you and your family thousands of dollars every year you remain independent. 

2. If you have long-term care insurance, you might already be covered. The biggest benefit of a life care community is its promise to provide for your future health care needs. But if you have a long-term care insurance policy, you’re already provided for. Siena Lakes accepts most long-term care insurance policies. So, why pay double for coverage you already have?

3. You remain in control of your health care decisions. If you ever do need care, Siena Lakes will give you options, including in-home care or more advanced support at our future continuing care neighborhood. Unlike a life care community, which can dictate the direction of your care, Siena Lakes empowers you and your family to make your own decisions.

“We like the idea of fee for service,” say Peter and Mary Zimmermann, future residents of Siena Lakes. “We certainly don’t want to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical care that we may never need or never get to use. It’s comforting to know that when we need it, it will be available.” 

Side-by-side comparison 


• Entry fee typically lower, as you are not prepaying for health care services you may never need.

• Monthly fees are lower and change if a person moves through the continuum of care.

• Monthly fees include nearly all daily living expenses. 

• Long-term care insurance may be used to cover some health care costs.

• Siena Lakes works with the resident and family to determine if supportive services are needed or if a move to continuing care is appropriate. Siena Lakes supports aging in place.

• Entry fee available to fund assisted living or skilled nursing. 

Life care

• Entry fee typically higher, as you are prepaying for health care services you may never use.

• Entry fee may not be used until the apartment is resold.

• Monthly fees include nearly all daily living expenses, as well as future care needs. 

• Monthly fee is higher but does not change if a person moves through the continuum, except for certain costs, such as meals.

• Long-term care insurance may duplicate the life care coverage.

• Community-directed moves—a person may be required by the community to move through the continuum.