The hospice benefit covers not only the physical needs patients have when they are critically ill, but it also provides for emotional support. For the majority of hospices in the U.S., Medicare is the most common form of payment with almost 80 percent of hospice patients aged 65 or older. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a guide on Medicare Hospice Benefits that goes into detail on hospice eligibility for Medicare patients, the services and equipment covered by Medicare with the hospice benefit and more.
Hospice Eligibility for Medicare Patients
To be eligible for hospice under the Medicare benefit, the patient must:
- Receive or be eligible for the Medicare Part A benefit
- Have a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease/illness follows its normal course as certified by their physician
Patients are entitled to hospice for at least the last six months of life. They can receive services even longer if they continue to meet the criteria for their admitting disease or illness.
What Services and Equipment Does Medicare Pay for with the Hospice Benefit?
The Medicare Hospice benefit is one of the most comprehensive parts of the program. It will pay for a variety of things a patient needs ranging from medications to a hospital bed in their home. More specifically, the Medicare Hospice benefit covers:
- Physician services
- Nursing care
- Nurse aides and personal care support
- Medical equipment & supplies related to the illness
- Social services support
- Spiritual care
- Nutrition support
- Bereavement support for families
- Short-term respite care
A few exclusions to the benefit include:
- Treatments intended to cure the disease
- Medications unrelated to the terminal diagnosis
- Room and board in a nursing home or assisted living
Contact us to learn more about how our hospice services can help your or your loved one.