Munson Health
Friday, July 13, 2012 - Bottom Line: Hospice Offers Comfort Care for All

Bottom Line: Hospice Offers Comfort Care to All

By Kelly Yanick
Munson Hospice

When families consider end-of-life care, the bottom line issue should not be finances.

Hospice is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid Hospice Benefit, and by most private insurers. Munson Hospice will work with any person or family regardless of insurance coverage to ensure needed services can be provided.

Should finances cause someone to hesitate when considering hospice, it is important to understand that hospice benefits cover virtually all aspects of care with little out-of-pocket expense to the person or family. The patient will receive comfort care to manage symptoms related to their terminal illness.

Comfort care includes medications for symptom control and pain relief, physical care, counseling, and other hospice services. Insurances cover the following hospice services and pay nearly all of the costs for:
• Hospice physician services
• Nursing care
• Medical equipment
• Medical supplies
• Medications for symptom control and pain relief
• Short-term care in the hospital, including respite and inpatient care for pain and symptoms management of the terminal illness
• Home health aide
• Physical and occupational therapy
• Speech therapy
• Social work services
• Dietary counseling
• Grief support for the patient and their family

In addition to hospice services, insurances will continue to pay for covered benefits that are not related to the terminal illness. Hospice patients receive comfort care to help them cope with their illness, not cure it. Under the hospice benefit, insurance coverage does not include treatment when the goal is to cure a terminal illness.

Patients should talk with their physician as they consider a potential treatment to cure the illness. Patients always have the right to stop hospice care and elect curative treatment. If at any time they decide to stop curative treatment, they can elect hospice services again.