Does Medicare cover end-of-life planning and care?
The answer to this question has significant implications for both patients and healthcare providers.
Here we look at the three most commonly asked questions about Medicare in regards to end-of-life coverage.
- Does Medicare cover advance care planning?
As of 2016, Medicare began covering advance care planning. This includes discussions between a patient and his or her physician (or other healthcare professionals) about end-of-life care treatment preferences.
In light of the fact that Medicare coverage compensates such planning, physicians are encouraged to take the time to explain end-of-life care planning to their patients. Healthcare providers can and should help their patients understand how important a role it plays not only in their quality of life but in their family members’ lives as well.
End-of-life care is only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. If you are a Medicare recipient whose doctors has not yet broached the topic, we encourage you to take initiative and ask your doctor for guidance. When you start completing your Keystone Digital Living Will, your personal physician can be a useful resource for any questions you have pertaining to your particular condition.
- Does Medicare cover end-of-life treatment?
Medicare covers the cost of treatment during a terminally ill patient’s final years and days, including services such as the following:
- Diagnostic tests
- Prescription drugs
- Palliative care
- Physician treatment
- Hospital care
- Home health care
There are a wide range of medical options available for your own end-of-life healthcare regimen, and Medicare coverage should act as an extra reassurance in choosing the options that are emotionally best for you and your loved ones.
- Does Medicare cover hospice care?
For terminally ill patients who do not wish to do not wish to pursue life-lengthening treatment, Medicare covers hospice care, with little or no cost-sharing responsibilities for the patient or patient’s family.
Following a physician’s confirmation of eligibility, which includes assessment of a terminal course expectancy of less than 6 months, hospice care is typically provided in home and may also include services such as nurse care, counseling, palliative care, and respite care assistance for family caregivers.
Studies indicate that approximately 90% of Medicare recipients would prefer to receive care and pass at home—but that only one-third of patients do so.
This propels the idea that it is necessary for physicians and healthcare providers to help their patients understand end-of-life care options. Medicare recipients need to know what options are available, how Medicare will cover their decisions, and how Keystone Digital Living Will can ensure they spend their final days how they want to.