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En español | Yes, Medicare’s hospice care benefits cover a wide range of services — medical, social, emotional and spiritual — to provide as much comfort as possible to terminally ill people and their caregivers in the last days or months of life.
The focus of hospice care is to provide comfort care, more formally known as palliative care, rather than medical treatment to cure your illness. You can receive Medicare-certified hospice care in your home, at an inpatient hospice center, or at a nursing home or other facility. Hospice care is covered under Medicare Part A.
To qualify for Medicare’s hospice benefit, you must meet all the following conditions:
You can get hospice care for up to two 90-day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. At the start of each period of care, your hospice doctor needs to confirm that you're still terminally ill for you to continue receiving hospice care benefits.
If you qualify and choose to receive hospice care, the benefits should cover everything you need related to your terminal illness with very little cost to you. Your hospice team creates a care plan that may include the following covered services:
Medicare Part A covers most hospice services in full, but you may have the following out-of-pocket costs:
You are free to stop hospice care any time you want — and then resume it if that’s your wish. Medicare’s hospice coverage continues as long as your doctor and a hospice doctor continue to certify that you’re terminally ill, even if you live longer than six months.
You can use Medicare benefits to get care for health problems that aren’t a part of your terminal illness, paying for any of Medicare’s copayments and deductibles as usual. But once you choose hospice care, you can’t use your Medicare benefits to cure your terminal illness.
Original Medicare will cover your hospice benefits, even if you’ve chosen a Medicare Advantage plan. If you already had a Medicare Advantage plan before you started hospice care, you can choose to stay in that plan if you pay the monthly premiums. The plan can cover care not related to your terminal illness.
Updated February 21, 2023
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