What if I'm concerned about how to pay for care?

Payment and insurance issues related to your serious illness may be causing you concern. However, palliative care and hospice costs are covered all or in part by Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans. In fact, many hospices provide care to those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay.

The following care and services are included under the hospice Medicare benefit, which sets the standard for other insurers as well:

  • Medical and nursing care
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Aide service
  • Medications, equipment and supplies related to the end-stage illness
  • Social services
  • Spiritual support
  • Volunteers
  • Bereavement support

Some hospices may also offer additional services, such as:

  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy, as needed
  • Massage therapy, music enrichment and art expression
  • Pet therapy
  • Positive memories program

Expert end-of-life care can be provided regardless of your ability to pay.

Get answers to specific questions related to your care and services and learn if they are covered by your insurance.

 

Answer


How much does insurance cover?

With all the recent focus on insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles, it is no wonder you are concerned about how much you will have to pay for hospice or palliative care.

When already dealing with the challenges of serious illness – which likely includes excessive medical bills – the thought of adding one more service to pay for is scary.

The good news is that one local, expert provider of these services will help ease your payment burden. Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance will cover the costs of hospice and palliative care.

The following care and services are included:

  • Medical and nursing care
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Aide service
  • Medications, equipment and supplies related to the end-stage illness
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy, as needed
  • Music and massage therapy; art expression
  • Social services
  • Spiritual support
  • Volunteers
  • Bereavement support

Expert end-of-life care can be provided regardless of your ability to pay.

Get answers from our experts now to specific questions related to your care and services and if they are covered by your insurance.

 

Answer


What are Advance Directives?

Conversations about end of life can be very uncomfortable; you may feel awkward bringing up the topic with loved ones and your doctor. Nevertheless, it is vitally important that you make your wishes known through advance directives.

Advance directives cover a variety of documents including Living Wills, Healthcare Powers of Attorney and Do Not Resuscitate orders.

The most important part, however, is having conversations with loved ones so they understand your wishes and will honor them if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Depending on your age, general health, family situation, goals and values, your wishes regarding various types of medical treatment–or the use of life-sustaining measures–can vary dramatically at each stage of your life.

It is important that you:

  • Make your wishes known in the event you cannot express them
  • Ensure your family understands your choices – before a crisis occurs
  • Provide documentation that supports and explains your wishes to your doctor and loved ones

Each of these steps will empower your family to make treatment decisions that respect your feelings and values. Equally important, they will not be burdened by having to make those decisions, without your input, in a crisis situation.

Take the confusion out of this emotional and critical time and be sure that your family has up-to-date information about your end-of-life wishes.

Get help today to understand and complete your advance directives.

Answer


What is a DNR? Do I need one?

It is important to understand the difference between a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

In Ohio, a DNR gives individuals the opportunity to exercise their right to limit care received in emergency situations or special circumstances. This includes care given by emergency personnel when 911 is called.

Essentially, the DNR tells others that you do not wish to receive CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) when your heart stops functioning or you have stopped breathing.

CPR means:

  • Administration of chest compressions
  • Insertion of an artificial airway
  • Administration of resuscitative drugs
  • Defibrillation
  • Provision of respiratory assistance
  • Initiation of resuscitative IV line
  • Initiation of cardiac monitoring

While this procedure is a vital life-saving measure for someone who is generally healthy when they have a cardio pulmonary crisis, it actually can be physically harmful to someone who is frail from prolonged illness or old age. People in this circumstance often choose DNR.

It is important to know that care that eases pain and suffering will always be implemented regardless of a DNR order. Additional care will also be provided depending on the specific order that your doctor writes for you. It is best to discuss with your doctor the best option for you and your medical needs before your DNR order is written.

A DNR order must be written by a physician or nurse practitioner. It can be honored in many settings including – but not limited to – nursing facilities, residential care facilities, hospitals, outpatient care centers, homes and public places. For the DNR to be useful, it must be recognizable and available to healthcare workers.

Some choose to display the DNR in their homes and take it with them when they are away from home. A wallet card is another way to clarify your DNR status, but in Ohio, it must have the Ohio DNR logo on it to be valid.

Even if you are healthy now, you can state that you do not want CPR if you ever become terminally ill. Ensure your wishes are known and speak to your physician today.

Clearly state what emergency personnel can and cannot do for you in an emergency.

Answer


What is a Living Will?

It is important to understand the difference between a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

A Living Will is a document that allows you to establish – in advance – the type of medical care you would want to receive if you were to become permanently unconscious or terminally ill and unable to tell your physician or family what type of life-sustaining care you want to receive. A Living Will also allows you to specify your wishes about organ or tissue donation.

You do not need a physician to complete a Living Will. You can complete the forms on your own. The most important step, however, is to be sure your family understands your wishes and has a copy of your Living Will so they can access it in the event you cannot speak for yourself.

Unlike a Healthcare Power of Attorney, which designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf at any time in your life that you become incapacitated, a Living Will is only used at the end of life.  Before your Living Will can be implemented, you must be:

  1. Terminally ill and unable to tell your physician your wishes about healthcare treatments.
  2. Permanently unconscious – two physicians must decide that you have no reasonable possibility of regaining consciousness (one physician must be a medical specialist in an appropriate field).

Regardless of your condition, if you are able to speak and tell your physician your wishes about life-prolonging treatment, your Living Will cannot be used.

Download a Living Will form and be sure to share it with your family and physician once you have completed it.

Complete your Living Will to make your wishes known.

Answer


What is Healthcare Power of Attorney?

It is important to understand the difference between a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to name a person who can act on your behalf to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. Unlike a Living Will, it is not limited to times in which you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. An example of this would be following a car accident.

The Healthcare Power of Attorney also allows you to nominate a guardian to your person and a guardian to your estate. Your nomination is not a guarantee of guardianship, but will be taken into account if the issue is ever brought to Probate Court.

If you have a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will, healthcare workers must follow the wishes in your Living Will once it becomes active. In other words, the Living Will takes precedence over the Healthcare Power of Attorney.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is different than a Financial Power of Attorney as it only addresses issues related to healthcare.

The person you name as Healthcare Power of Attorney – by completing the Healthcare Power of Attorney form – has the power to authorize and refuse medical treatment for you. This authority is recognized in all medical situations where you are unable to speak for yourself. You can complete the forms to assign a Healthcare Power of Attorney on your own. It is essential that you communicate this information to your family so they know who to turn to should the time come to implement the Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Access the documents that allow you to assign a Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Answer


Is there special assistance for veterans?

Twenty-five percent all people who die in the United States are veterans. For some, the psychological impact of their service, or a physical injury or condition they sustained, has affected them every day of their lives. For others, emotional wounds that have been hidden emerge near the end of life.

All veterans are entitled to receive hospice and palliative care as they face end-stage illness. In addition to excellent care and services, veterans also benefit from their in-depth understanding of their special needs.

Hospice care is beneficial for any veteran with a terminal or end-stage disease, whether they receive their medical benefits through the VA, Medicare or Medicaid.

A veteran who is dually eligible for VA benefits and Medicare or Medicaid can elect to have hospice services under the Medicare/Medicaid benefit. While all other care – unrelated to the terminal illness – will still be covered as part of the VA benefit. Veterans not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid can access hospice care through their VA benefit.

Veterans will benefit from an extra layer of care near the end of life.

Learn more about help for veterans at the end of life.

Answer