Medicare Provides Hospice Did You Know that Medicare Provides Hospice at No Cost under Medicare Part A?at No Cost under Medicare Part A?
As a certified case manager and critical care unit RN, I am advising daily adult children who are desperately seeking advice for their parents that are closing in on end of life issues. Those that have serious health care issues should be offered every option for proper planning for end of life care…most appropriately… hospice! I see too many people wait too long to begin hospice benefits.
Can you explain hospice for your readers as I am sure this will help those who are seeking answers for their frail loved ones and give the caregiver some well needed rest?
Thanks, in Advance… Susan from Champion Forest area of Houston
HOSPICE…is a subject no one wants to talk about, let alone be educated about, but can help a family when their loved one is terminally ill and the illness takes a toll on the caregiver and the patient.
This Medicare column’s main purpose is to help those that are overwhelmed by a complicated system.
Most believe hospice is for the last days to help a person die peacefully. Many doctors and individuals wait too long to order and receive hospice.
Hospice can give hope along this journey with education, medication to manage symptoms, support to the patient and family, and counseling services for the patient, family members and care givers.
Health care professionals in the hospice system consist of “Special Angels” of physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, certified nursing assistants and volunteers. A hospice provider can come to where the patient lives to provide the care and/or much needed relief for the caregiver.
In the Medicare and You Handbook, it explains what hospice is in Medicare terms, and what Medicare covers for hospice under Part A of Medicare. A doctor that orders hospice must certify that you are terminally ill and have 6 (six) months or less to live. (This does not mean you have to die in 6 months, which is one reason too many caregivers wait to receive care from hospice.)
Hospice can be recertified every 6 months by a hospice medical director or hospice doctor, if the patient is still terminally ill. Medicare will cover inpatient respite care in a Medicare-approved facility, so that the caregiver can rest. The Hospice patient can stay up to 5 days each time for respite care.
Hospice will cover all medical care for the terminal illness and Medicare will pay for health problems that are not related to your terminal illness (co-pays will apply). For those who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, when you are receiving hospice, the hospice benefit will be paid for by Original Medicare, not your Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay your co pay for any medical care that is not associated with the terminal illness.
Medicare costs under Hospice:
You pay nothing for hospice care (Medicare pays)
You pay a co-payment of up to $5 per prescription for outpatient prescription drugs for pain and symptom management