Who Pays for Hospice?
Wondering who pays for hospice? “Benefit” is a key word when it comes to discussing hospice care. That’s because hospice care is a benefit under Medicare Part A. In order to receive the Medicare hospice benefit, a patient must meet certain criteria:
- The patient must be eligible for Medicare Part A.
- The patient’s physician and the hospice medical director must certify that the patient is terminally ill and has six months or less to live if the terminal illness follows its normal course.
- The patient must sign a statement electing hospice care rather than Medicare benefits intended to treat the terminal illness.
- The patient must receive care from a Medicare-approved hospice provider.
Once a patient elects hospice, Medicare pays for the majority of the care the patient receives related to his or her terminal illness. This can include the services of doctors, nurses, aides, therapists, social workers and bereavement professionals. Durable medical equipment, medical supplies and drugs related to the terminal illness are also covered, though there may be a relatively small co-payment required for medications. Short-term inpatient care and respite care may also be covered.
For those not covered by the Medicare benefit, hospice is also covered by Medicaid and many private insurances.