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Do You Know Your Medicare Benefits for Short-term Rehabilitation?

elderly woman in physical therapy


At the age of 65, most working Americans are entitled to Medicare, which is a federally funded health insurance program that guarantees their health insurance coverage. But understanding Medicare can be quite difficult for anyone, especially during a stressful health event or surgery. So, what does Medicare cover in terms of short-term rehabilitation?

Medicare has four different types of coverage. Medicare Part A covers your hospital care, care in a short-term rehabilitation center, hospice care, and home health services. Short-term rehabilitation and post-acute care are nursing care, therapy and other medical programs and services that patients can qualify for after a hospitalization to help them more fully recover from an injury, surgery or other medical condition that they may have.

Medicare covers a short-term rehab center for up to 100 days if you meet Medicare’s requirements. Additionally, the first 20 days of that 100 days are paid in full by Medicare. Days 21 to 100 do have a coinsurance rate of $167.50 per day, and that is your responsibility. However, if you have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy, that might pay for some or all of this coinsurance payment.

The length of short-term rehabilitation is dependent on each individual and their medical needs. Some people may need to stay a few weeks to regain their strength and attend therapy, but some may only need a few days.

How Do I Know if I Need Short-term Rehabilitation?

If you’re hospitalized for a surgery or event, you may have the opportunity to plan ahead—determining if you want short-term rehab early on can reduce your stress pre- and post-operatively. If you’ve experienced a health event or unexpected surgery, you may not be prepared to make quick, important decisions. In those cases, and even in your planning stage, here are five questions you can ask yourself to determine if short-term rehabilitation is right for you:

  1. Do I have someone at home that’s willing and able to safely care for me, 24 hours a day?
  2. Do I need therapy a few days a week (which is likely what I would be receiving if I went home), or do I need therapy almost daily (which is what I would get in a short-term rehabilitation center)?
  3. Will I really do these exercises at home in between my therapy visits, or would I do better with a skilled therapist helping me making sure that I do the exercises properly, which would happen at a short-term rehab center?
  4. What are my short and long-term recovery goals, and where can I best meet those goals?
  5. Do I suffer from other medical conditions that require close monitoring, and would it be helpful for me to be in a short-term rehabilitation center to monitor those medical needs?

The Benefits of Short-Term Rehabilitation, and How to Choose the Best One for You

Going to a short-term rehab can help your therapists catch new or recurring problems early on, and in turn, prevent further hospitalizations. CPT Rehab works with you and your physician to create a plan of care that will determine how much therapy you need—and in turn, the recommended length of your stay. Again, it all depends on your health, safety, and well-being, and what your personal goals are for returning home.