There are no absolute rules to qualify for hospice services, but the following are guidelines commonly used to determine hospice eligibility.

Patient Eligibility for Medicare Hospice Benefits

  • Two physicians, the attending physician and the hospice medical director, must certify the patient is terminally ill, with a six-month or less life expectancy if the disease takes its normal course
  • The patient and/or family must be aware of the prognosis and elect palliative or comfort care, rather than active curative measures
  • Patient or family (if the patient cannot do so) must give informed consent
  • Care must be provided by a Medicare-certified hospice provider
  • Hospice benefits can also be obtained through private, for-profit insurance policies
  • A patient may revoke the benefit and return to regular Medicare coverage at any time without jeopardizing his/her ability to resume care financed by the Medicare Hospice Benefit in the future

Hospice is not only for those with a life-limiting illness due to a cancer diagnosis

Hospice is also available for patients meeting the above eligibility with the following diagnoses:

  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • End-Stage Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia