Q:

Does Medicare pay for respite care?

A:

Quick Answer

Medicare coverage pays for respite care when a patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less and opts for palliative hospice care, according to Medicare. This coverage requires a patient to make a 5 percent copayment for short-term respite care at a hospice facility.

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Full Answer

Patients who are covered by Medicare and are certified by a physician as terminally ill can opt out of treatment for their disease and choose palliative care in a hospice facility or at home. The cost of short-term institutional respite care that permits a regular caregiver a period of rest away from the patient is covered, Medicare reports.

The copayment for palliative care at a recognized inpatient hospice facility is set at 5 percent of the cost of the daily stay, MedicineNet explains. This copayment is also based on the maximum amount that Medicare approves for respite care providers. Any amount that exceeds the approved coverage also forms part of the copayment, Medicare confirms.

Medicare respite coverage does not exempt a patient from the conditions that govern palliative hospice care. These conditions stipulate that Medicare does not cover the costs associated with any treatment or drugs to cure the patient's illness, facilities that are unapproved by the hospice care medical team, or emergency room procedures and transportation related to the terminal illness, according to Medicare.

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