Connections 115: Hospice Coverage

Last week, we were honored to have the Most Reverend Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, bless the new OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home.

We had a wonderful turn-out of city and state legislators, leaders from our surrounding communities and OSF HealthCare, as well as staff and volunteers for the new Hospice Home. During the tours and our lunch the question of how hospice is financed was asked a few times.

Hospice coverage is provided 100 percent by Medicare and Medicaid with no co-pay. Most private health insurance plans have hospice coverage, but it may vary.  An excellent example is that there is an out-of-pocket daily room and board charge that is associated with a stay at a hospice home such as the OSF Hospice Home.

To confirm coverage, patients and medical providers should check with the patient’s employer or health insurance provider. Medicare covers all services and supplies related to the terminal illness for the hospice patient.

In general, Medicare coverage includes:

  • Physician services related to hospice diagnosis
  • Nursing care
  • Medical supplies as appropriate
  • Drugs for symptom management and pain relief
  • Short-term inpatient and respite care
  • Home Health Aide
  • Physical and other therapies
  • Counseling
  • Bereavement services
  • Volunteers
  • Pastoral care
  • Social workers

If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, the first thing hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of. Barring this, OSF Hospice will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community, memorial/foundation gifts, or through their company’s financial assistance program.

About Author: Robert Sawicki, MD

Doctor Robert Sawicki photoDr. Robert Sawicki is the Vice President of Clinical Services for OSF Home Care and Post-Acute Services. He has led efforts to develop and improve care for patients with chronic illnesses and has a special interest in end-of-life care and hospice.

Dr. Sawicki received his medical degree from Rush University in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his residency in family medicine in Rockford. He practiced family medicine in Bloomington, Illinois, for 20 years before moving into leadership roles with OSF Home Care Services.

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Categories: Palliative Care & Hospice