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Does Medicare Cover Respite Care?

  • Medicare with Melissa

When you step into the role of a caregiver, it’s important to consider your own well-being alongside the health of those you care for. You may find yourself wondering, does Medicare provide a safety net for times when you need to recharge? This coverage could be a lifeline, granting you a well-deserved break to rejuvenate and sustain the quality care you offer. Keep reading to discover more about respite care including the coverage Medicare provides for beneficiaries.

Click the play button above to watch a 60 second short on Does Medicare Cover Respite Care

What is Respite Care?

Respite care provides a temporary reprieve from the demanding tasks of caring for a loved one. It’s a service designed with flexibility at its core, accommodating the unpredictable nature of caregiving. Whether you need a few hours to decompress, handle personal errands, or engage in self-care activities, or if you require a more extended period to manage work commitments or take a longer break, respite care is adaptable to fit your schedule. Respite care can be provided in a variety of settings. It may take place in your own home, offering a seamless continuity of care for your loved one, or in a specialized care facility.

The benefits of respite care extend beyond just providing a break for caregivers. It also ensures that loved ones continue to receive high-quality care in the caregiver’s absence. This can be especially important in preserving the caregiver’s emotional and physical well-being, preventing burnout, and ensuring the sustainability of care in the long term. For caregivers, this service offers peace of mind, knowing that their loved one is in safe, competent hands. It also affords an opportunity to step back and recharge, which is essential to maintaining the balance in one’s life and the quality of care provided.

Medicare Coverage for Respite Care

Medicare’s coverage of respite care is focused on beneficiaries who have a terminal illness and are receiving hospice care. For a family caregiver, this stipulation means that Medicare steps in to pay the respite expenses when you’re caring for someone nearing the end of life. This aspect of coverage is not just a financial relief but also an acknowledgment of the emotional and physical demands placed on a caregiver during this critical period.

Medicare coverage for respite care falls under Medicare Part A. Part A covers hospital insurance and includes hospice care for those who have a life expectancy of 6 months or less. As part of the hospice benefit, Medicare Part A will cover respite care for up to five consecutive days in a Medicare approved facility, such as a hospital or skilled nursing facility. You can get respite care more than once, but it’s only intended for occasional use.

To make the most of this benefit, you’ll need to coordinate with the hospice provider to arrange respite care and confirm the length of coverage available. Medicare’s respite care benefit is designed to support both you and your loved one by ensuring continuity of care in a safe, professional environment. Always communicate directly with Medicare or a licensed agent to understand the full extent of the coverage and to clarify any doubts about the costs involved. For more information, please call 866-633-4427.

How Much Does Respite Care Cost?

The cost of respite care is an important consideration for caregivers, often weighing heavily on the decision to take a necessary break. The cost for this service can differ widely based on the care required, the setting, and how long the break is. For instance, care in an adult day health center averages about $78 per day, assisted living facilities on average cost $141 per day, while a skilled nursing facility might charge closer to $300 per day. These are median figures, so actual costs can vary.

Medicare Alternatives for Respite Care

If Medicare’s limitations on respite care are a concern, you might consider Medicaid, which may provide more extensive respite services. The coverage does vary based on your state’s provisions, so it’s important to check with your local Medicaid office. That way you can determine the specific types of respite services available to you including any eligibility criteria you may need to meet. Private insurance may also offer different levels of coverage for respite care, potentially with fewer restrictions than Medicare. This could give you greater flexibility in choosing care duration and provider.

Additionally, community-based services often present a plethora of respite care options, often on a sliding scale based on income, making them accessible regardless of your financial situation. Nonprofit organizations specific to certain conditions, like the Alzheimer’s Association, can also be a source of respite care assistance or can direct you to subsidized programs. It’s about finding the right balance of care for your loved one and support for yourself through these diverse avenues.


In your journey as a caregiver, taking time for personal rest and rejuvenation is vital to maintaining the compassion and patience needed for such a role. Thankfully, Medicare Part A provides coverage for respite care if the beneficiary that you’re caring for meets all the requirements. It’s also important to be aware of any potential out-of-pocket costs to ensure that you’re financially prepared for what Medicare doesn’t cover. This knowledge can help you plan accordingly, so you can take your much needed break without the stress of unexpected expenses.

If you need further assistance or have any questions about Medicare’s respite care coverage, don’t hesitate to contact a Senior Healthcare Solutions Medicare specialist at 866-633-4427. A licensed agent will be happy to help and ensure you understand how to get the most out of your Medicare benefits. Peace of mind is just a phone call away, so give us a call today.

Meet Melissa MacCalla

Medicare is not simple and can be hard, frustrating, and downright confusing for most. I love when I get someone on the phone and I am given the opportunity to explain the difference in plans to them and have Medicare make sense. I enjoy talking to clients year after year, hearing about their families growing or them asking about mine.


Oh my gosh!! I was so confused about the Medicare Supplement process. I am turning 65 soon and am retired and have always had insurance thru my former employer. I didn’t know a thing about going on Medicare and was struggling to sort it all out.

A friend of mine recommended contacting Senior HealthCare Solutions, so I did. Melissa was FANTASTIC!! She was professional, responsive, caring and friendly. She explained the steps I needed to take, gathered my information, helped me choose good plans for MY specific needs and took care of my applications over the phone. 1-2-3, eesy-peesy and I was done!! And it didn’t cost me a DIME!!! WOW!!! I HIGHLY recommend Senior Healthcare Solutions for anyone who’s overwhelmed with making the right choices with Medicare Supplemental Insurance and Rx coverage. It’ll take a load off your mind!

Janice W.

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