The Hospice Insider | September 30, 2016
Most patients with a terminal illness don’t have to pay for hospice care. Medicare through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid, The Veterans Health Administration, and private insurance companies cover hospice.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit is covered under Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). Patients with Medicare who receive hospice care get the full scope of medical and support services for their life-limiting illness. In the United States, Medicare certifies more than 90% of hospices. 80% of people who use hospice services are over the age of 65, and therefore are entitled to the services of the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a patient is eligible for Medicare hospice benefits when you meet all of the following conditions:
- You are eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), and
- Your doctor and the hospice medical director certify that you have a life-limiting illness and if the disease runs its normal course, death may be expected in six months or less, and
- You sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of routine Medicare covered benefits for your illness*, and
- You receive care from a Medicare-approved hospice program.
*Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health needs that aren’t related to your life-limiting illness.
Private health plans and Medicaid in 47 States and the District of Columbia cover hospice care. If you do not have insurance coverage, a hospice may provide care free of charge or on a sliding scale basis. Financial assistance is provided through donations, gifts, grants or other community sources. Contact your local hospices to learn if they are able and willing to offer care for free or reduced cost in your case.