Who Pays for Hospice Care?

Choosing to hire a hospice provider is often a difficult decision, filled with many questions and uncertainties. However, a quality hospice program can provide comfort and compassion by addressing the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient, and through support and counseling for the patient’s family members or other loved ones. After examining the benefits hospice care can provide, the next question that many have is who pays for hospice?

 

Paying for Hospice Care

Hospice can be paid for through a number of ways, including Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or private pay.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit is provided under Medicare Part A.  To be eligible for hospice under Medicare, the patient’s doctor and the hospice medical director must certify that they have a life limiting illness (life expectancy is six months or less). Hospice coverage needs to be recertified at various intervals, but care may continue, as needed, for more than six months as long as the physician continues to recertify eligibility.

To begin hospice care, the patient or their caregiver will be asked to sign an election statement choosing the hospice benefit.  All doctor visits, nursing care, medical supplies and equipment, pain relief medication, as well as other support services that are related to the hospice diagnoses are covered by Medicare under the hospice benefit. The patient may choose to receive hospice care in the comfort of home or in an inpatient facility, as long as the provider is Medicare-approved.

If not a recipient of Medicare, the cost of hospice care may be covered under private insurance. Qualifications and coverage are often similar to Medicare. If help is needed to evaluate coverage, please call Abramson Hospice at 215-371-1369. All initial consultations with Abramson Hospice are free.