End-of-life care is a treatment someone nearing death receives in the final days, weeks, months, or sometimes years of his or her life. During this time, medical care and support continue regardless of whether the patient’s condition is curable or not. Many receive professional medical care in hospitals, nursing homes, or even in their own home. Patients are then placed in either palliative care or hospice care, and the costs are paid by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, charities, the individual, or other payment programs. Here are some things to know about end-of-life care costs.
Eligibility for Medicare’s Hospice Benefit
- The patient must be 65 years or older
- Diagnosed with a serious illness
- Certification from a doctor that he or she has six months or less to live
- Agrees to forgo life-saving or potentially curative treatment
- Hospice provider must be Medicare-approved
Medicare provides care for two 90-day periods in hospice, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. At the start of each period of care, a doctor must re-certify that the patient has six months or less to live.
Medicare’s hospice coverage includes a broad range of services:
- Nursing care
- Medical social worker services
- Physician services
- Counseling (including dietary, pastoral, and other types)
- Inpatient care
- Hospice aide and homemaker services
- Medical appliances and supplies (including drugs and biologicals)
- Physical and occupational therapies
- Speech-language pathology services
- Bereavement services for families
Hospice costs not covered by Medicare
- Room and board
- Emergency care such as ambulance fees or emergency room costs
- Treatment or prescription drugs attempting to cure illness
Hospice costs are paid for in the following manner: Medicare – 85.4%; Medicaid – 5%; managed care or private insurance – 6.9%; other (including charity and self-pay) – 2.7%.
Respite care is a short-term break for caregivers of terminally ill patients. The patient can stay for up to five days in a Medicare-approved nursing home, hospital, or hospice facility.
Studies showed 42% of people died at their home at $4,760 in their last month of life. Whereas in a hospital it cost $32,379. Dying in a nursing home was the second most expensive, hospice care was third, and the emergency room.
Now that all of this has been explained, there are some things you need to do or things you should do to prepare for these costs.
You have to save for it. A lot of retirement planning is determined by how much you are going to spend in retirement. Heck, that’s basically all of what retirement planning is. You need to save and plan for this.
Not everyone has to be concerned about it. If you have all of your debts paid off and your retirement account is in a place where you don’t have to be worried about running out of money, then you probably don’t have to think about it too much. That doesn’t negate the fact that you should plan, your planning just looks a little different. Instead of buying final expense life insurance, maybe you’re buying a plot in a cemetery.
Planning will look different for everyone, but your circumstances don’t excuse you from planning.
Final expense insurance is a life insurance product that’s purchased to pay for burial and/or funeral expenses. It’s also called burial insurance and senior insurance. In most cases, the benefit from the insurance product reimburses the costs incurred from burial and funeral, as it takes longer for those to get paid out.
End-of-life care is a necessity for most people. It’s important to plan for it.
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My name is Jacob Sensiba and I am a Financial Advisor. My areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, retirement planning, budgets, and wealth management. Please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org