Traditional Medicare covers these hospice services:
• Doctor services.
• Nursing care.
• Medical equipment and supplies.
• Drugs for pain and symptom relief.
• Aide and homemaker services.
• Physical and occupational therapy.
• Speech-language pathology services.
• Social worker services.
• Dietary counseling.
• Grief and loss counseling.
• Short-term inpatient care.
• Short-term respite care (possible co-payment).
• Other services needed to manage pain and symptoms as determined by hospice providers.
Medicare will cover hospice in 90-day and 60-day periods. A patient may receive hospice care for up to two 90-day periods, followed by unlimited 60-day periods. These benefits periods may occur consecutively or with time between them; regardless of the timing, the patient must be recertified as terminally ill at the onset of each period of treatment. To receive this care, patients must meet the following conditions:
• They have Part A.
• The patient’s doctor and the hospice medical director have confirmed that the patient is terminally ill and has six months or less to live.
• The patient signs a statement choosing hospice care instead of other Medicare-covered services to treat terminal illnesses.
• The hospice is Medicare-approved.
In terms of costs as of 2013, the patient will pay at most $5 for each prescription drug or pain/symptom control product. The patient will also pay 5 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for inpatient respite care.
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