Medicare and Continuing Care

Frequently Asked Questions

20. Who is eligible for Medicare’s hospice benefit?

To be eligible for hospice care, the patient must have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and

  • the doctor and hospice medical director must certify that the patient is terminally ill and has probably six months or less to live
  • the patient must sign a statement choosing hospice care instead of routine Medicare-covered benefits for their terminal illness
  • the patient must receive care from a Medicare-approved hospice program.

Medicare hospice benefits do not include treatment to cure terminal illness. If the patient's health improves or the illness goes into remission, he or she always has the right to stop getting hospice care and go back to the regular Medicare health plan. A hospice patient will continue to have Medicare benefits to help pay for treatment of conditions unrelated to the terminal illness.