Starting January 1, 2016, physicians are able to bill Medicare for having conversations about advanced care planning with their patients. Advanced care planning helps the patient learn about the health care options that are available for end-of-life care. This may include the patient learning about hospice care. Advanced care planning is the making of decisions about the care that you would wish to receive if the time came that you were not able to make those decisions for yourself. Advance care planning enables the patient to make in advance end of life care and decisions based on personal preference. It also allows the patient to share their wishes with the family, friends, and their physicians.
Hospice care is covered by Medicare for the terminally ill. Your physician will have to certify this. Medicare offers a hospice care benefit covering many different services. Medicare patients who use this benefit have little to no cost responsibilities. Hospice coverage does not have a definite time frame. Hospice care is provided to patients whose physician certify the patient has a terminal illness that will lead to death in six months if the illness runs a normal course. If the Medicare patient lives longer than six months, hospice coverage may continue if the physician and the hospice team re-certify the patient’s eligibility.