Hospice companies do not allow as many respite days as Medicare allows.
I have been checking local Hospice companies and they ALL say they allow up to 5 respite days per benefit period (90 days, 90 days, 60 days). This is a lot less than what Medicare is willing to pay for. Medicare does not limit the number of respite periods in a benefit period. They only limit each respite period to 5 consecutive days. Medicare allows the Hospice company to bill Medicare for up to 20% of hospice days as Respite days, and each respite period not to exceed 5 consecutive days. For example 5 days every 25 days maximum. Or one respite day each week. Or two 3-day respite periods every month. I assume the Hospice company does not make as much profit when they bill Medicare for a Respite day so they minimize Respite days for caregivers. I think the Hospice industry is ripping off caregivers. For more information Google "nhpco org Respite Tip sheet pdf".