There may be a time in your loved one’s life where you and your family consider hospice care as the next step. This end-of-life holistic care allows for patients to live out their days fully and with dignity, while continuing to receive the attention and care that they need.
However, you may be wondering how hospice care is paid for. Usually, qualifying patients, such as those with a terminal illness, will not have to pay for hospice care. However, there are several options to explore, and we’ll dive into these a little more deeply here.
Paying for Hospice Care
Several government organizations will cover hospice care, including Medicare, Medicaid, and programs sponsored by the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Other options include private medical and long-term care insurance, and self-pay is an option, as well.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare covers most hospice patients through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. This program requires Medicare to pay for all necessary hospital and doctor care, and includes eligibility for:
• Patients 65 years or older
• Those diagnosed with a terminal illness
• A Medicare-approved hospice provider
• Confirmation from the patient’s doctor that they have less than 6 months to live
Medicare will provide two 90-day stays in hospice, along with an indefinite number of 60-day intervals. Medicaid’s eligibility requirements are similar, however this depends on the state policies.
Many private insurance plans will pay for hospice care — though not all. While hospice care is typically less expensive than hospital care, some insurance companies do still have limits on their policies regarding hospice treatment. The best option is to check with your loved one’s insurance company to find out more information on their hospice coverage.
VA and Department of Defense Programs
The VA and Department of Defense also offer options when it comes to paying for hospice care. Such programs include:
• TRICARE. This Department of Defense program is for active and retired service members, along with their dependents.
• CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs). Those who are eligible for this VA program include spouses and dependents of injured or diseased veterans. Those who qualify for TRICARE cannot are not eligible for CHAMPVA.
If your loved one does not have insurance, there are still options available in paying for hospice care. A hospice may offer payments on a sliding scale, or even offer care for free. Patients who do not currently have coverage may also be eligible for the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
How to Pay for Hospice Care
While you may be worrying about paying for your loved one’s hospice care, keep in mind that you have plenty of options. Additionally, our team at WellSprings Home Care is happy to provide you with any additional information and assistance. Just give us a call at (610) 463-0880, and one of our team members will be glad to help.