Medicare is government-provided health insurance for seniors who are over 65. Original Medicare, Parts A and B, provides coverage for inpatient, medically necessary, and preventive services as well as approved health care supplies. You may be surprised to know that Medicare also covers costs associated with end-of-life care. Namely, hospice.
What Is Hospice?
Those who have a life expectancy of 6 months or less can use hospice, medical support used for comfort and symptom management near the end of life. Hospice typically includes:
- Medication for symptom control or pain relief
- Medical equipment
- Medical supplies for in-home care
- Personal care assistance
- Grief counseling
- Emotional support
Hospice has no term limit. Even though a person must be determined near the end of life when first obtained, care can exceed 6 months, as long as their condition is considered to be life-limiting.
Medicare Requirements For Hospice Care
Medicare Part A will pay for hospice care when a senior is deemed terminally ill by their doctor. Also required is a signed statement choosing hospice care instead of other curative treatments.
What Hospice Services Does Medicare Cover?
Medicare will pay for just about any service or treatment that a senior’s hospice care team recommends. Some common services included are:
- Doctor visits
- Nursing services
- Medical equipment for symptom management
- Medical supplies
- Medication for pain management
- Spiritual or grief counseling
- Inpatient respite care
What WON’T Medicare Pay For?
Although Medicare pays for seniors to receive hospice care, there are a few things it will not cover. This includes:
- Treatments intended as a cure
- Prescription medication intended as a cure
- Care that was not arranged by a senior’s hospice care team
- Room and board if the senior resides in a facility such as a nursing home or assisted living
Additional Hospice Resources
Need more help with hospice care? Then start with these resources:
Do you need more Medicare help? Then start here: