Concerns over health care financing are an ongoing discussion in households and health care offices across our community. These concerns are justified as baby boomers age and provide care for their aging parents.
Yet, for almost 25 years, the Medicare Hospice Benefit for those 65 years and older or on Medicare Disability, has provided a model for financing end-of-life care that can bring great relief and support to families during one of life’s most difficult times. This benefit covers virtually all aspects of hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family. As a result, the financial burdens often associated with caring for a terminally-ill patient are lifted.
Hospice care also offers support to the loved ones of the patient, which brings an added level of relief to the dying person knowing their loved ones are being cared for as well.
Hospice costs are covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit, the Medicaid Hospice Benefit, and most private insurers. Hospice Care of the Southwest provides care regardless of the person’s ability to pay.
Medicare covers these hospice services:
- Doctor services
- Nursing care
- Medical equipment
- Medical supplies (like bandages and catheters)
- Medications for symptom control and pain relief
- Short-term care in the hospital, including respite and inpatient for pain and symptom management
- Home health aide and homemaker services
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Social work services
- Dietary counseling
- Grief support
Also, Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health problems that aren’t related to the terminal illness.
Hospice and palliative care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Families making end-of-life decisions for a loved one need compassion and support, not financial worries.
This information in provided by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Hospice Care of the Southwest.