What Does Medicare Cover When Hospice is Called?

Many Medicare beneficiaries are unaware that Medicare offers an all-inclusive benefit that is available to assist terminally ill patients and their families. The hospice benefit is “grossly underutilized” because people are unaware it exists. To be eligible for the Medicare hospice benefit you must meet all of the conditions below:

  • You must have Medicare Part A hospital insurance.
  • Once you make the choice to call hospice, the patient and family must be ready to stop treatments being administered to cure the terminal illness.
  • Before enrolling in a hospice program, Medicare must be approved.
  • Your doctor and the medical director of the hospice program must certify that you likely have less than six months to live, according to their clinical judgment.

Once deemed eligible, here are services Medicare will cover for your hospice treatment:

  • Doctor or Nurse Practitioner services
  • Nurse Case Manager
  • Hospice Aide
  • Medical equipment (i.e., wheelchairs, walkers)
  • Medical supplies (i.e., bandages, catheters)
  • Medications for symptom control or pain relief
  • Nutritional/dietary counseling
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Volunteers
  • Social worker services
  • Spiritual Support and Counseling
  • Grief and loss counseling for your family
  • Short-term general inpatient care (pain and symptom management)
  • Respite Care

The Medicare hospice benefit includes two 90-day hospice benefit periods followed by 60-day benefit periods. The hospice benefit periods are in place to help determine if the patient is still eligible for hospice care. When the choice to call Hospice is made, be sure to verify that the patient is Medicare-approved, and follow-up with a call to Medicare to ensure the plan covers hospice care. The hospice organization should also contact Medicare to ensure coverages and benefits.

Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare has 24/7 access available to its hospice team to answer questions regarding your eligibility for hospice services. Call Kenya Y. George today at (614) 451-6700 for assistance in choosing the right hospice care plan for you and your family when the time comes.


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