Medicare may Help Cover Costs of Hospice Care for Elderly Patients
Terminal illnesses suffered by elderly patients can pose a number of physical, emotional, and psychological challenges for both the patients and their families. And all this pain doesn’t come cheap.
Hospice care for elderly patients can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and many families are understandably nervous about racking up huge medical debts for hospice care at the end of an elderly person’s life.
Fortunately, though, Medicare can help cover some of the costs of hospice care, according to a recent report from Patch.com.
Hospice Care may be Covered by Medicare for Eligible Patients
Hospice care can provide extremely valuable care for very ill patients at the end of their lives, but it can cost a fortune. Eligibility requirements for Medicare-funded hospice services include:
- Medicare Part A eligibility. First, potential patients must be eligible for Medicare Part A, which is basically hospital insurance. In addition, patients must be terminally ill and their doctors must provide proof that they have less than six months to live, if the illness behaves in a predictable manner.
- Approved hospice program. Potential patients must also sign a statement that formalizes their commitment to hospice care, rather than other treatment for their terminal illness, and they must receive care from a hospice program that has been approved by Medicare.
- Benefits of hospice care. If a patient qualifies, he or she will receive the benefits of hospice care, which usually includes a doctor and nurse who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days of week. In addition, a patient’s doctor will work closely with a family to design a medical care program that meets the family’s specific needs.
Hospice Benefits Provided by Medicare
If a patient qualifies for hospice care, Medicare will help pay for a consultation with a hospice medical director, as well as doctor and nurse services, medical equipment, and other basic health care services.
There is no deductible when Medicare pays for hospice care, and patients will pay no more than five dollars for each prescription drug, according to sources.
In addition, patients will be able to receive inpatient medical care while in the hospice, and they will only have to cover five percent of the amount that is approved by Medicare.
So, for families who are worried about having to file for bankruptcy to cover the costs of medical treatment, Medicare might prove to be a tremendous financial aid for end-of-life care.