Does Medicare Pay For Respite Care? All You Need To Know

Does Medicare Pay For Respite Care?

Discover the ins and outs of Medicare coverage for respite care at home.

Learn about the eligibility criteria, duration of coverage, and associated costs.

Explore alternative options and ensure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about respite care for your loved one.

As a devoted family caregiver, providing unwavering care for your loved one is a selfless endeavor.

However, sustaining this level of dedication without taking breaks can be challenging.

Does medicare pay for respite care?
Does medicare pay for respite care: Photo(Together In This)

If you’re concerned about the affordability of respite care while staying within your budget, it’s reassuring to know that Medicare covers respite care in specific circumstances.

Additionally, alternative payment options such as Medicaid, veterans benefits, and long-term care insurance can provide financial assistance for respite care.

What Is Respite Care?

Respite care is a service designed to offer temporary relief to primary caregivers, allowing them a well-deserved break from their caregiving responsibilities.

It can be arranged in hourly increments or extended periods, and it is available both at home and in care facilities.

Caregivers often turn to respite care to:

  1. Attend to their personal well-being (exercise, rest, etc.)
  2. Visit the doctor
  3. Run essential errands
  4. Sustain social connections
  5. Fulfill work commitments

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Medicare does cover respite care, provided all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The individual qualifies for Medicare.
  2. The individual is already receiving hospice care.
  3. The respite care occurs in a qualified hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Typically, Medicare covers up to five consecutive days of respite care, with the possibility of multiple occurrences depending on the individual’s specific circumstances.

However, it’s important to note that there may be associated out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries seeking respite care.

Does Medicare pay for respite care at home?

No, Medicare does not cover respite care services provided at home; care must take place in a Medicare-approved facility.

For example, Medicare covers respite care in a nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility.

To avoid the inconvenience of relocating a loved one from their home to a facility while they’re on hospice care, consider arranging assistance from family members or covering the costs for an in-home respite caregiver out of pocket.

Also Read: Does Medicare Pay For Oral Surgery? Everything You Need To Know

How much does respite care cost?

The cost of senior care varies based on an individual’s care needs, location of care, and duration of care.

Here’s a breakdown of median respite care costs by location:

  • Respite care in an assisted living facility is approximately $160 per day.
  • Respite care at home is roughly $240 per day for 8 hours of care.
  • Respite care in a skilled nursing facility is about $260 per day.
  • Respite care in an adult day health care facility costs around $78 per day.

What if my loved one doesn’t qualify for Medicare’s respite care?

If your loved one doesn’t qualify for Medicare’s respite care, there are alternative options available:


While respite care isn’t a standard Medicaid benefit, some states offer Medicaid waivers that may help cover the cost for eligible individuals.

Contact your state Medicaid office to inquire about respite care through a Medicaid waiver.

VA health care:

Veterans enrolled in VA health care are generally eligible for respite care if they meet clinical criteria and the service is available in their location.

Long-term care insurance:

Policies vary, but some may cover respite care. Consult your loved one’s long-term care insurance provider to understand their unique policy.

Informal respite care:

Some communities offer free or discounted hourly respite care for older persons through local organizations like places of worship or elder-focused nonprofits.

Trusted family members or friends can also provide hourly respite care.

Private-pay home care:

In certain situations, you may need to pay for an in-home caregiver to provide respite care independently.


While Medicare does cover respite care, it’s essential to note that this coverage is limited to specific circumstances.

Respite care services provided at home are not covered by Medicare; instead, care must occur in a Medicare-approved facility, such as a skilled nursing facility.

The duration of coverage generally extends up to five days in a row, with the possibility of additional use based on the unique circumstances of the individual receiving care.


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