Paying For Hospice Care
Life can be complicated if a health diagnosis indicates a patient has a terminal sickness and needs to start an end-of-life care journey. Unfortunately, many people do not like talking about end-of-life care mainly because they fear the possibility of high costs required and the financial strain they may face with their families.
However, plans that cater to paid hospice care makes difficult times for terminally ill patients more manageable without them experiencing financial stress.
Well, you do not have to worry about hospice care costs since Hospice Assists support various plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans. Other options for those who lack insurance are also available.
The following is a detailed description of the methods suitable for paying hospice care.
- Paying for Hospice with Medicare
Many older adults wonder whether Medicare covers hospice at home. The answer is it does so with about 85% of patients using the Medicare benefit to pay for the required costs.
For patients to get Medicare cover for hospice, they have to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- They must be struggling with a severe sickness
- Must be 65 years or older
- Must get certified by their regular doctor or a hospice doctor with less than six months to live
- If their attempts to cure their sicknesses are unsuccessful or they decide to stop treatment from trying to cure their disease
- Patients must obtain care from a Medicare-certified hospice agency such as Hospice Assist
Additionally, patients can get hospice care for more than six months if the doctor verifies they are still eligible.
- Paying for Hospice Using Medicaid
In some cases, Medicaid covers hospice care for patients with low income and assets. Eligibility criteria vary in most agencies, but usually include:
- Certification from a physician of a terminally-ill patient who has a life expectancy of fewer than six months. Some agencies may also allow up to one-year life expectancy
- Comfort care, not treatment intended to cure the incurable sickness
The Benefits of the Medicaid Hospice
The benefits are similar to those of Medicare hospice, with the exception that Medicaid cover differs by region. Medicaid coverage can also work together with the patient’s existing Medicare coverage.
Additionally, if the patient chooses the Medicaid hospice benefit, it will not remove Medicaid coverage for other conditions or symptoms not related to their terminal diagnosis.
If you want to know more about the services we cover, kindly contact our Hospice Assist team.
- Paying for Hospice using Private Health Insurance
Numerous private health insurance organizations cover hospice care services and usually compensate for the full costs. However, plans can be different. At Hospice Assist, we typically check with the patient’s health insurance coverage to verify the following qualifications for them to receive hospice benefits:
- we certify whether patients have a limited life expectancy
- Whether they decide not to engage in curative treatment
- The type of hospice services covered by their insurance plan
- If there are any limits on hospice expenses
- Costs the patient will be responsible for, such as deductibles and co-pays
- Paying for Hospice Without Insurance
Patients who do not have insurance but want hospice care services can have several options to choose from, such as:
- Veteran’s Benefits
Examples include Tricare and Veterans Administration.
Tricare is a sponsored health care program by the Department of Defence which covers hospice for retirees, active military members, including their dependents.
The Veterans Administration (VA) gives benefits similar to Medicare hospice. It also pays for hospice programs to the eligible beneficiaries of specific disabled or deceased veterans.
- Charity Care
Some agencies offer free hospice services to the poor and patients who lack insurance or any means of payment.
- Personal Savings
Older adults or retirees can pay for hospice using their savings. Some agencies may also provide discounted services or installment payments, depending on the patient’s resources.
With the above payment options, hospice care can be an affordable means of spending the remaining time with your loved one. If you need to learn more about how to pay for your hospice, call our team at for more details.
Services Covered by the Medicare Hospice Costs
After certification and selection for a hospice program suitable for your loved one’s needs, the benefits of Medicare will cover the costs associated with their end-of-life care.
Your Medicare can cover various end-of-life services, including:
We have a professional-trained nursing staff that provides symptoms and pain management to your loved ones. Our nursing staff will also instruct and train your home caregivers or long-term care home facility team on how to offer optimal care and comfort.
If your loved one needs to use medical equipment such as a walker, wheelchair, or hospital bed, the Medicare hospice benefit caters to the costs of hiring these items. If your loved one dies or no longer needs the medical equipment, our hospice care team will organize for the equipment delivery.
Offering comfort and care for a patient or your loved one may require using medical supplies, such as incontinence pads, catheters or bandages skincare supplies, etc. The Medicare hospice benefit will cover all the costs needed for such needs.
Physical, speech and work-related therapy
Non-medicinal types of treatment, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, are usually covered by Medicare hospice costs to give your loved ones the best comfort and care.
Medicare will cover any medications prescribed to your loved one to control the pain and symptoms related to the terminal illness.
Social work services
Social workers give initial and continuous psychosocial evaluations such as emotional and organizational support to the patients and their families. This process may involve linking the family with additional financial assistance and creating a psychosocial care plan.
Bereavement counselors not only give support, comfort, and guidance for patients and their family but also help them deal with grief support. Families can also receive bereavement counseling both before and after the death of their loved ones.
Short-term inpatient care
The Medicare hospice benefit covers resources of inpatient care if a patient or a loved one’s condition will need them.
Short-term respite care
At times caregiving roles to the terminally ill patients for long periods can be demanding and exhausting. To prevent caregivers from experiencing burnouts, the hospice team can place patients in an inpatient care facility for about five days to give enough time for caregivers to rest.
By doing so, both patients and caregivers can benefit from respite care for both their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Nutritional counseling services
Our hospice care team can offer awareness on the dietary restrictions that might be essential to your loved one due to a life-limiting illness. They will also address the food required, which can facilitate an improved quality of life and comfort.
Home health aide services
Our home health aide can help patients or loved ones with light housekeeping responsibilities, including personal care needs such as bathing and grooming.
Health Aides can also report any changes they observe in a patient’s needs, such as mental, physical, and social needs to the rest of the interdisciplinary team for proper care coordination.
Other additional paid services required to manage the terminal illness in hospice care include:
- Spiritual support
- Medications for pain and symptom relief
- Equipment and supplies associated with the terminal disease such as wheelchairs, catheters, bandages, walkers, among others.
- Short-term inpatient care to manage pain and symptoms
- Respite care for the patient to provide caregiving relief
Types of Costs Not Covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit
Although the Medicare hospice benefit is meant to provide patients with affordable payments for end-of-life care, there are some medical treatments and costs that the program does not cover. These include:
- Curative treatments
Medicare will not cover any expenses related to medications or procedures intended to cure a patient’s terminal sickness.
- Care not arranged or provided by the hospice care agency
Any hospice agency usually agrees on all the types of care that patients should receive for their terminal sickness or related disorders. Therefore, Medicare does not cover any additional services that the patients or their families have not addressed.
- Emergency room care not related to the life-limiting illness
Emergency care services may only be covered if demanded by a patient’s hospice team. However, an out-of-pocket co-payments cost may be necessary in such cases.
- Inpatient facility care not related to the terminal sickness
Medicare covers temporary inpatient facilities if your loved one's hospice team recommends it and if it refers to the condition of the terminal disease.
- Ambulance transportation
Medicare can only cover non-emergency ambulance if the transport is necessary to treat or diagnose a patient’s condition, and a doctor has communicated the requirements of ambulance transportation.
- Potential Out-of-Pocket Costs under the Medicare Hospice Benefit
Although the Medicare hospice benefit covers many costs related to a patient’s end-of-life care, there are specific charges that patients or their families may be responsible for when receiving hospice care. As Hospice Assists, we recommend that you discuss with us any unrelated costs before you begin using our services.
- Inpatient respite care
Even though Medicare covers various charges, you might need to pay 5% of the Medicare-approved costs. Contacting our hospice care can significantly help you to understand the required inpatient respite costs, if any, that needs your accountability.
- Room and board charges
If a patient obtains hospice care at a long-term care facility or a nursing home, then Medicare hospice benefit will not cover the room and board charges.
Always feel free to contact our Hospice Assist office if you have any questions concerning your Medicare’s coverage for extra services to ensure it covers additional costs before obtaining our services.
It can be very challenging for patients and their families when they address hospice conversation, including the discussion about the costs needed for its care. However, they will be thankful if they realize Hospice Assist has available access to hospice support and services at little to no cost if they have the required payment coverages.
Despite any financial condition encountered, our hospice care is available to discuss with the terminally ill patients and their families the necessary support and comfort.
If you want to know more information on how we can help you pay for end-of-life care, kindly contact our offices for more assistance.