How are my services paid for?
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the following intermittent services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
- Attending physician services
- Nursing care
- Medical social services
- Medical equipment and supplies related to palliation of terminal illness
- Pharmaceutical therapy for pain relief and symptom management related to the terminal illness
- Short-term inpatient care, including respite care
- Hospice aide and homemaker services
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Bereavement and other counseling services
The attending physician is the physician or nurse practitioner designated by the patient to have the primary role in his or her care. Any attending physician who is not employed by hospice continues to bill Medicare Part B for professional services—home, inpatient, or nursing home visits—in the usual manner, independent of the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Attending physicians can also bill for oversight of the care plan for hospice patients. Payment is available for one physician per month for oversight supervision involving 30 or more minutes of the physician's time per month. For more information, please see Hospice Care: A Physician's Guide.
Many private insurance plans offer a hospice benefit; however, billing criteria may differ from Medicare.