Yet, for 30 years the Medicare Hospice Benefit has provided a model for financing end-of-life care that can bring great relief and support to families during one of life’s most difficult times.
“Thanks to the Medicare hospice benefit, the financial burdens often associated with caring for a loved one with a life-limiting illness are lifted,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
This benefit covers virtually all aspects of hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family.
Hospice care also offers supports to the loved ones of the patient; this brings an added level of relief to the dying person, knowing their loved ones are being cared for as well.
Every year, more than 1.5 million Americans with a life-limiting illness receive care from our nation’s hospice providers reports NHPCO.
Hospice is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid Hospice Benefit and most private insurers. In addition, most private health plans and Medicaid in most states and the District of Columbia cover hospice services. If a person does not have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or a private insurance company, hospices will work with the person and their family to ensure needed services can be provided.
Medicare covers these hospice services:
Medical equipment (like wheelchairs or walkers)
Medical supplies (like bandages and catheters)
Drugs for symptom control and pain relief
Short-term care in a facility, including respite and inpatient for pain and symptom management
Home health aide and homemaker services
Physical and occupational therapy
Social work services
Support from trained volunteers
Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health problems that aren’t related to a terminal illness.
Hospice and palliative care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.
To learn more or find a hospice in your area, visit NHPCO’s Caring Connections at www.caringinfo.org.