Hospice Medicare Benefit

The Medicare Hospice Benefit

Helpful information on an entitlement for you and your family.

With the cost of health care today, it is easy to understand how stressful it is for families, especially those facing a life-limiting illness. Fortunately, Medicare provides complete coverage for Amity Care Hospice’s expert care, including:

  • Medical visits by our doctors and nurses and all medications and equipment they order
  • Spiritual support by our nondenominational chaplains
  • Emotional support by our licensed social workers and grief counselors
  • Practical support by our home health aides, nursing assistants and volunteers.

Often, people associate hospice care with cancer, but there are many other illnesses for which Medicare is likely to approve services, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s/dementia
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Heart, lung, kidney and liver diseases
  • Emphysema
  • Stroke

Sometimes the elderly will experience progressive weight loss and unexplained weakness. They, too, may qualify for Hospice care.

Need more information? Read on, or call us. We’re here every day, around the clock, to answer your questions. Call 678.402.5235.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Medicare Hospice Benefit

Who is eligible to receive Hospice care under Medicare?

Hospice care is available to all Medicare beneficiaries who:

  • Have Medicare Part A
  • Are certified by their doctor as having an estimated life expectancy of 6 months or less.
  • Sign a statement “electing” hospice care for their medical condition.

What happens if I live longer than 6 months?
There is no limit on the number of days you can receive care from Amity Care Hospice.  After 6 months, you can continue to receive hospice care as long as the physician recertifies you for hospice care at that time.

What services are covered under the Medicare Hospice benefit?
The following services are covered when included in the Amity Care Hospice plan of care (which is established by the patient, family and hospice) and when the services address the hospice-related diagnosis:

  • Nurses and doctors who are specially trained in pain and symptom management to make routine and emergency visits to the patient as needed
  • Home Health Aides who provide bathing and personal care
  • Social workers and counselors to provide emotional support for patients and family members
  • Chaplains who attend to spiritual issues
  • Volunteer support for patients and/or caregivers
  • Dietary counseling
  • Medical equipment (such as oxygen, wheelchairs)
  • Medical supplies (such as bandages and incontinence supplies)
  • Prescription drugs related to the illness
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Grief counseling for family

How much will I have to pay?
Nothing. The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers all hospice-related expenses for your care.

Will I lose Medicare coverage if I choose hospice care?
No. Medicare continues to pay for medical care that is unrelated to the condition for which Amity Care Hospice is providing care. There is no loss of coverage.

What if I am currently covered under a Medicare Managed Care Plan such as HealthNow, Encompass 65 or Senior Blue?
The Hospice Medicare Benefit is available through all Medicare Managed Care Plans.  For illnesses unrelated to your hospice diagnosis, full coverage remains in effect.

What if I live in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility?
The Amity Care Hospice team and the nursing facility staff collaborate on your care. You will have the benefit of experts in long-term care working with experts in pain and symptom management and counseling to provide the highest level of care for you and your family.

Will I need to change my doctor if I elect hospice care?
No. Amity Care Hospice works with your doctor to provide hospice care.

What if I need to be moved to a different setting for care?
The Medicare Hospice Benefit pays for inpatient hospice care in a hospice, hospital or skilled nursing facility. The Amity Care Hospice team will work with you and your family to determine the best setting for you to receive inpatient care.

What if I decide that I no longer want hospice care?
You have the right to stop receiving hospice care at any time. A form is signed to revoke the Medicare Hospice Benefit and you go back to receiving all the benefits you had in the past from Medicare or Medicare Managed Care. There is no penalty or loss of service days.

For more information on the Hospice Medicare benefit, click on this link:http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/11034.pdf

or call 1-800-MEDICARE.  Amity Care Hospice shares this information with you as part of its commitment to educating patients and families about end-of-life care.