Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Medicare to watch Hospice usage more closely

The Washington Post on Tuesday ran a story indicating that Medicare is looking harder for accountability in the use of hospice benefits.

The story is important because many people probably don’t know that Medicare will pay for hospice care in many cases at end of life. The Medicare publication (PDF) that explains this is here.

This is notable because generally Medicare does not pay for nursing home care, beyond brief (21 days) episodes in skilled nursing facilities where the patient is expected to get better, as when recovering from surgery or chemotherapy. Many times supplementary insurance will cover longer periods in nursing homes, but not indefinitely. That is what invokes the need for long term care insurance to protect assets, or even the possibility, even if remote, that filial responsibility laws could apply to adult children in many states before Medicaid could cover the costs.

The Washington Post story is “For Hospice, A Higher Authority: Medicare to Require More Accountability,” by Alicia Ault, p AE01, July 1, link here.

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