National Groups Announce New Hospice Resource for Consumers

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) have produced a resource guide to help families with a loved one about to enter hospice care. Utilizing hospice makes end-of-life more comfortable.

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National Groups Announce New Hospice Resource for Consumers
2 Min Read December 29th, 2022

Hospice care is provided to over 1.7 million Medicare beneficiaries. It is one of many Medicare benefits offered by approximately 5,000 Medicare-certified hospices. Each of these hospices must provide specific services and meet certain criteria. However, each can offer these services in a unique way.

Whether someone enters hospice following a significant health problem, following a period of long-term care, or just as part of the aging process, hospice care's primary goal is to improve someone's quality of life and make their remaining time as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Choosing hospice care and a hospice provider are two of the most important decisions anyone will make for themselves or a loved one. Navigating the details of hospice can be confusing, resulting in numerous questions and misunderstandings. It may take some time to find a hospice that meets the needs of each patient.

Medicare Pays for Most Hospice Care

For people over 65, all approved hospice care costs are covered under Original Medicare, excluding room and board. There are situations where someone may exhaust their hospice benefits if it goes beyond six months. In that case, Long-Term Care Insurance usually pays for hospice benefits if the person owns a policy.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) and the National Association for Home & Hospice Care (NAHC) jointly developed "Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hospice." 

This booklet helps people learn about all the hospice benefits available with Medicare. The resource offers questions that help discuss options with the care recipient, their family, and providers.

Guidance to Make Decisions

NAHC President William A. Dombi says the information will provide the guidance people need.

With a growing use of hospice care, it is essential that Medicare beneficiaries and their families are well-equipped to understand what it takes to choose the right hospice.

Dombi says the opportunity to collaborate with the Center for Medicare Advocacy will help patients and families understand Medicare hospice coverage.

We are proud to have the opportunity to team-up with the Center for Medicare Advocacy to contribute well-focused guidance on hospice care and provider options. There are few health care decisions that one may make that are more important than selecting a qualified hospice provider.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hospice Provider

Understanding Medicare Coverage

He says they hope this document will help patients and families understand Medicare hospice coverage, the benefits of hospice care, and available provider options.

As patients face terminal illness, the decision to choose hospice care is complex and often difficult.

Judith Stein, Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy, says the booklet includes questions and guidance.

The booklet includes questions and guidance we hope will be valuable in finding care people can rely on as they live with a serious illness.

The Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hospice document is available on the CMA and NAHC websites.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the voice of home care and hospice. NAHC represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice providers, along with the more than two million nurses, therapists, and aides they employ. The Center for Medicare Advocacy is a national, non-profit, law organization that works to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage, health equity, and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities.

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Editor's Note

The end of life can be emotionally difficult for families. It often means pain and physical discomfort for individuals living their final days or weeks.

Hospice sometimes comes after a long period of declining health and long-term health care. This means a long period of stress and anxiety for the care recipient's family as they deal with a chronic illness or aging issue.

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