Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care is suitable when a patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and can no longer benefit from medical treatment, with a prognosis of living six months or less. When curative treatments are no longer an option, hospice provides palliative care for the patient.  Palliative care is designed to keep patients stable and comfortable in their final days.  A Comfort Choice Hospice Care representative would be happy to talk with you about the hospice option.
There are several options available for financing hospice care.
  • Medicare – If the terminally ill individual is a Medicare beneficiary, hospice is a covered benefit under Part A. All other Medicare services continue under Parts A and B, including those of the person’s attending physician. Hospice payments do not interfere with any other Medicare payments for other illnesses, diseases, or care.
  • Medicaid – Nearly all states and the District of Columbia offer hospice coverage under Medicaid. In general, Medicaid hospice benefits parallel the Medicare benefit, although there may be some variations in certain states
  • Private Insurance – Most private insurance plans and managed care plans offer a hospice benefit. In most cases, the coverage is similar to the Medicare benefit.
  • Tricare – Tricare is a health benefits program for military personnel and retirees. Hospice is a fully covered benefit under TRICARE. Only Medicare-certified hospices can provide the TRICARE hospice benefit.
  • Private Pay – If insurance coverage is unavailable or insufficient, Comfort Choice Hospice is happy to discuss payment options and plans.
  • Charity Care – Under Medicare law, no person may be refused hospice care due to inability to pay. Each hospice has a financial specialist on staff to answer questions about receiving financial assistance. Funds may be available from donations, gifts, grants, or other community sources to help cover the costs of care.
Certainly. If their condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to curative treatments.
Hospices should pay for anything that is related to the “terminal diagnosis.” For example, if a patient is receiving hospice care because they have heart disease, then any medications or equipment related to heart disease should be paid for by the hospice. Medicare is becoming increasingly strict on ensuring hospices are paying for everything that may be related to the diagnosis. Hospice typically pays for most medications and durable medical equipment (DME) such as oxygen, basic wheelchairs, and hospital beds and mattresses. Additional items may include specialty equipment, medications, or supplies that may be particular to the reasons the patient is in hospice.
A patient can continue to receive hospice care for as long as needed, so long as the doctor continues to believe that life expectancy is six months or less. Hospice services would be discontinued if the patient’s condition has improved and the prognosis is no longer poor, or the patient chooses to discontinue hospice care.
Hospice care is designed to address the patient’s physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Nurses and doctors provide symptom relief with medication and medical devices. Recreational support such as art and music therapy, massage, and diet counseling may also be available. Finally, various counselors, including clergy, are available to assist family members and patients.
Comfort Choice Hospice is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We have nurses and support services such as social workers and chaplains on-call who will respond within minutes, if necessary.
Yes. Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a terminal life illness wherever they may reside.
Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying. Hospice offers support and specialized knowledge during the dying process.

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