Religious nonmedical health care institutions provide care and services to people who don't accept conventional medical care because of their religious beliefs. Medicare may cover items and services in religious nonmedical health care institutions (RNHCIs) only if you qualify for inpatient hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF) care. Medicare will only cover the inpatient non-religious, nonmedical items and services, like room and board, unmedicated wound dressings, or use of a simple walker (items or services that don’t require a doctor’s order or prescription).
Medicare doesn’t cover the religious portion of this type of care. However, Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient non-religious, non-medical care when all of these conditions apply:
- The religious nonmedical health care institution is currently certified to participate in Medicare.
- The religious nonmedical health care institution Utilization Review Committee agrees that you would require hospital or SNF care if you weren’t in the institution.
- You've filed a written election with Medicare that states:
- You qualify for this type of care based on both your medical needs and your religious beliefs.
- Your election will be cancelled if you decide to accept standard medical care. After cancelling an election, you may have to wait 1-5 years (depending on how many times you may have previously cancelled you election) to qualify for a new election to get religious nonmedical health care services. You're always able to get medically necessary Part A services.
Religious beliefs prohibit your use of conventional and unconventional medical care in religious nonmedical health care institutions.