Medicare’s hospice benefit has helped millions and their families cope with the final stages of terminal illnesses. To qualify, you must be eligible for Medicare’s Part A hospital insurance, and your physician must certify that you have six months or less to live (assuming your illness runs its natural course). You also must sign a statement choosing the Medicare hospice benefit and agree that you have decided to forgo any aggressive treatments at that time.
Although those diagnosed with cancer once made up the vast majority of hospice recipients, that’s no longer the case. Pulmonary diseases, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s/dementia, cardiomyopathy, and other conditions individuals are diagnosed with now benefit from hospice services too. Still, people often wait too long before taking advantage of this valuable benefit. Once patients and their families experience hospice, they say they wish they would have known about it sooner.
The Medicare benefit allows you and your family to stay together in the comfort of your home where the team of hospice professionals looks after you. Hospice’s main goal is to relieve pain and manage your symptoms. All hospice services are covered 100%-no out of pocket expenses. This includes physician visits, nursing and cna care, social work and support services, medications, medical equipment and supplies.
You can receive hospice care indefinitely as long you meet criteria. After 90 days of care, you’re re-evaluated to determine if the care is still appropriate and once again after another 90 day period, then every 60 days thereafter. If your health improves or your illness goes into remission, you can sign off of hospice services. At this time, you’ll return to your previous Medicare coverage, however, if at some point your condition worsens again, you can go back to hospice care.
The hospice benefit is also available to anyone with a Medicare Advantage plan and Medicaid. CompassionCare Hospice works with private insurance plans as well and is contracted with the VA. If you are considering hospice care or have questions about qualifying, call us today 702-636-0200.