How Long Does Medicare Pay for Rehab?
How Long Does Medicare Pay for Rehab? It depends on what Medicare Plan you have.
Medicare often pays for at least part of medically necessary rehab.
However, how it pays, and how much it pays, for your rehab is dependent on what type of care you need and what kind of Medicare plan you have.
Let’s look at the various types of rehab and how:
- Original Medicare,
- Medigap, and
- Medicare Advantage address coverage.
Original Medicare Rehabilitation
Rehab, or Inpatient Rehabilitation Care, is part of Medicare Part A or “Hospital Insurance.” To learn more about what Part A covers, click here.
Rehab administered in an outpatient setting or by doctors / medical providers can be covered by Part B when considered necessary by Medicare Standards. One example of a covered program is Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs.
Original Medicare will pay for part of your rehab in most cases if your care is considered “medically necessary” by CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) standards.
According to CMS, medically necessary rehabilitation requires:
- certification by a doctor that you have a medical condition that requires rehab
- continued professional medical supervision
- coordinated care from doctors and therapists
How Many Days does Medicare Pay for Rehab?
If you only have Original Medicare, you will have costs associated with rehab for each benefit period.
- For the first sixty days, a deductible will apply (in 2020, $1,364).
- After that, a $341 coinsurance will apply to days 61-90, and $682 coinsurance from day 91 and beyond.
- Finally, if you are going beyond 91 days in rehab, you will only have 60 more “lifetime reserve days” for coverage. What this means is that Medicare will only cover 60 rehab days total in your lifetime after you hit the 90 benefit period limit. These lifetime days do not start over each year. As a result, if you run out of lifetime reserve days, you will be paying 100% of all costs for rehab when you run out.
For more information on inpatient rehab, please visit this medicare.gov page.
Medicare Supplements (Medigap)
Medicare Supplements are designed to pick up the costs that Original Medicare does not cover (such as deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays.)
There are some Medicare Supplements that pick up just about all costs that Medicare does not pay. (As long as they are “covered services.”) You can consult this chart to see what plan pays what.
Medicare Plan F and Plan G offer the most extensive coverage and among the most popular plans.
Medicare Advantage Rehab Coverage
Private insurance companies run Medicare Advantage plans. They are designed to “replace” Original Medicare. They cover at least what Original Medicare covers plus they offer additional coverage and extra benefits and services to their beneficiaries.
- You can learn more about Medicare Advantage here.
- In addition, you can learn about the differences between Medicare Advantage and Medigap Plans here.
Each Medicare Advantage Plan will be different in regard to their Medicare rehab coverage. However, they most often offer additional coverage or a different structure as to how they cover rehab days – both inpatient and outpatient.
Additionally, all Medicare Advantage Plans (also called MA / MAPD plans) are required to have a “max-out-of-pocket” limit for each annual benefit period. This means that you will not pay more than that predetermined amount each year for your covered health services.
Now that we have looked at the various plans and how long they cover rehab, let’s look at a few specific examples that Medicare addresses.
Does Medicare Pay for Physical Therapy?
Sometimes, when people ask if Medicare pays for rehab, they are referring to outpatient physical therapy.
Medicare covers some costs for outpatient physical therapy when it is considered “medically necessary” as we defined earlier in this article.
Medicare Part B helps pay for physical therapy, and if you only have Original Medicare, you will pay 20% of your medical costs.
How Long Does Medicare Pay for Physical Therapy?
According to CMS, “Medicare law no longer limits how much it pays for your medically necessary outpatient therapy services in one calendar year.”
Finally, always remember to make sure that your physical therapy is considered both medically necessary and a Medicare covered service. If it is not, you may end up paying for all of it.
How Long Does Medicare Pay for Cardiac Rehab?
If you have recently had a heart attack or some other cardiac event (see here for more information on what “events“ CMS covers), Medicare will cover most costs for Cardiac rehabilitation programs. These programs usually are covered for as long as they are needed.
Medicare covered costs can include both regular cardiac rehab and “Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation” Programs (ICR).
According to CMS, programs can address exercise, education and counseling in some form, and can either be held in an outpatient hospital setting or at a doctor’s office.
In regards to costs, just remember…
- Original Medicare will cover 80% of approved medical bill amounts under Part B. (Part B deductibles may apply).
- If you have a Medigap Plan (aka Medicare Supplement) then that plan will pick up additional costs according to your plan’s letter specifications. (See the Medigap chart above or visit our Medigap Page for more information.)
- Or, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, your plan will list out how it covers cardiac rehab costs and what your copayments will be, if any.
How Long Will Medicare Pay for Nursing Home Rehab?
If you need rehab that extends beyond a stay as an inpatient at a regular hospital, your doctors may transfer you to a “Long-Term Care Hospital” (LTCH). Long-Term Care Hospital stays are different than living in a Long-Term Care facility (also called a nursing home). They are still considered a hospital setting, so they are covered by Medicare Part A.
Under Original Medicare, your coverage lengths and payment amounts are the same as the inpatient rehab amounts we detailed out above in the section, “How Many Days does Medicare Pay for Rehab?.” Or, you can find them on the government website here.
However, your benefit period does not start over if you are transferred from one hospital to another (including a LTCH). So, you will not have to pay another deductible.
We understand that Medicare rules and costs are often confusing. This is especially true when you are confronted with rehab options. Your coverage lengths and costs will often be different depending on how you have your Medicare coverage set-up.