Beginning in the 1980’s, the federal government instituted the Medicare hospice benefit program. The program is designed to provide the terminally ill with a dignified, comfortable, and peaceful end of life without an overwhelming financial burden. The Medicare hospice benefit is by far the most popular form of payment for hospice services, accounting for payment coverage for more than 85% of hospice patients.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit provides coverage for the following services:

  • Doctor services
  • Nursing care
  • Medical equipment (like wheelchairs or walkers)
  • Medical supplies (like bandages and catheters)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospice aide and homemaker services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Social worker services
  • Dietary counseling
  • Grief and loss counseling for you and your family
  • Short-term inpatient care (for pain and symptom management)
  • Short-term respite care
  • Any other Medicare-covered services needed to manage your terminal illness

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