Medicare has a problem. Hospice patients aren’t dying like they are supposed to. When you are approved for hospice you are expected to die within 6 months. When hospice patients don’t die, the cost to Medicare goes up.
Over the past decade, the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying, a Washington Post investigation has found. Healthier patients are more profitable because they require fewer visits and stay enrolled longer.
Hospice patients that don’t die are big business for companies that care for the dying.
The hospice “movement,” once led by religious and community organizations, was evolving into a $17 billion industry dominated by for-profit companies. Much of that is paid for by the U.S. government — roughly $15 billion of industry revenue came from Medicare last year.
88% of hospice patient revenue is paid for with taxpayer dollars from Medicare. End of life care is big business.
Care for hospice patients is a covered expense under Medicare Part B. When you have original medicare and a Georgia Medicare supplement plan you are covered. Medigap plan F pays 100% of your approved Medicare Part B expenses.
Are you still paying too much for your Medicare supplement plan? If you have Medigap plan F from AARP (United Healthcare), Blue Cross of Georgia, or Mutual of Omaha you are probably paying more than you should.
Do you want to know what Medicare covers if you are a hospice patient? Click to review Medicare Hospice Benefits.
At AseraCare, for example, one of the nation’s largest for-profit chains, hospice patients kept on living. About 78 percent of patients who enrolled at the Mobile, Ala., branch left the hospice’s care alive, according to company figures.
That’s good news for the patients and their families, but bad news for Medicare. One wonders if these runaway costs will catch the eye of lawmakers that will respond with reduced funding for hospice patients.