A Breakdown of Prices and Options in 2019

As the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, people researching hospice care often ask us, “how much will hospice care cost?” While people don’t like to discuss end-of-life care at any point, when the time for hospice comes, the cost of care is not what families and patients need to focus on. Hospice costs vary depending on the amount of time and type of care needed, but the good news is that often, hospice care is provided at no cost to you.

When evaluating potential hospice care for yourself or a loved one, cost may be a concern but the quality of care you and your loved ones deserve may be more affordable than you think.

Hospice providers accept Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurances. This alleviates a tremendous amount of stress on the family; yet, sadly many families are unaware they may not have to shoulder this burden alone.

In 2017, 96% of the patients at Nathan Adelson were 100% covered by insurance.

Contacting a hospice agency early, even if you are only considering hospice care, helps you understand what financial help you can receive as well as helps ensure patients are made as comfortable as possible sooner. Also, families are provided with the support they need to understand what to expect as their loved ones’ illnesses progress.

The sooner the hospice team can begin helping the patient and family, the more effective the services will be in improving the quality of life and reducing the physical, emotional and financial burdens. The patient's and family's quality of life can be greatly enhanced by early intervention.

Hospice vs. Palliative Care

Given the frequent news coverage of high-profile people who opt for “comfort care” during their final days, you may wonder what the difference is between hospice and palliative care, aka comfort care. While hospice care includes palliative care, they are not the same thing.

Hospice care is typically started when a patient has been given a terminal diagnosis and is expected to be entering the last phase of life.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses, that may or may not be terminal. It focuses on providing patients with comforting symptom relief, alleviating pain and stress that accompany serious illnesses. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family and it can be provided together with curative treatment.

While hospice patients receive the comforting aspects of palliative care and pain management, they are not seeking concurrent curative treatment. They are focusing on alleviating symptoms for a pain-free end-of-life experience.

How Much Will Hospice Care Cost Me?

The answer may surprise you, but it has been proven that hospice care is substantially less expensive than the typical cycle of hospitalization long-term illnesses can incur, or home health agency care.

Hospice patients receiving in-home care obtain pain management care at home, thus reducing the number of potentially costly hospital visits necessary for their symptom relief.

Medicare patients are fully covered for all hospice services related to their terminal illness and have no out-of-pocket expenses. Prescription medications needed to manage pain and symptoms related to a hospice diagnosis are also provided without cost to the patient.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization stated Medicare paid hospice providers a total of $16.9 billion dollars for care provided in 2016.

The average spent per Medicare hospice patient was $11,820.00

Private insurance and HMO plans will often cover hospice services through a specific hospice benefit or through hospital, home health or private duty benefits.

While a family would be responsible for any remaining balance unpaid by insurers, nonprofit hospices like Nathan Adelson Hospice often have foundations to assist in covering those costs.

If you or your loved one is considering hospice services and do not have insurance, there are resources available to help meet your needs. Please see the section below entitled, “What if I don’t have insurance?”

What Does Hospice Care Provide?

The philosophy of hospice is to provide support and care in the last phase of your journey of life so that people may live as fully and as comfortably as possible.

Hospice care seeks to enable patients to carry on an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so their last days may be spent with dignity and quality at home or in a home-like setting. Inpatient options are also available.

Hospice offers palliative, or comfort, treatment rather than curative treatment. Under the direction of a physician, hospice uses sophisticated methods of pain and symptom management.

Patients on hospice care are eligible for durable medical equipment that suits their needs such as walkers, wheelchairs and shower stools without costs or any out-of-pocket expenses.

Pain medication, nurse visits, coordinated care from certified nursing assistants and social worker visits are all provided under the hospice benefits, without additional cost to the patient.

Some patient care items such as adult briefs, oxygen and other necessary items are also often covered.

While Medicare, Medicaid and many insurances cover the cost of durable medical equipment and supplies mentioned above, most plans do not cover the cost of a stay in a facility while patients are receiving hospice care.

Should patients require a place to stay while receiving hospice services, Nathan Adelson Hospice offers two inpatient units in Las Vegas where patients may receive intensive pain management and when stabilized, can be comfortably and safely transported to their homes or home-like settings to continue the appropriate level of comfort care.

The hospice movement stresses human values that go beyond the physical needs of the patient. Hospice team members work together to evaluate all the needs of every patient on an individual basis, providing for your physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Most hospices offer an array of Spiritual Care Services and chaplains are available any time during hospice care. The staff also assists helping patients connect with their own faith-based organizations and clergy of choice.

In addition to expert medical care and pain management, Nathan Adelson Hospice offers an array of complementary therapies designed to offer unique methods of comfort. The Complementary Therapies Program offers patients and their loved ones various comfort therapies, which have been clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and enhance patient care.

Such therapies include:

  • massage
  • aromatherapy
  • reiki
  • art therapy
  • pet therapy
  • music therapy
  • reflexology

Now that you know a little more about the cost of hospice care plus its many benefits, please feel free to reach out and discuss if hospice or palliative care options are right for you or your loved one. Tours are available of our inpatient units and compassionate, experienced staff are ready to answer your questions.

As your trusted partner on your journey of care, we are here to help you navigate your choices.

What Insurances Does Nathan Adelson Hospice accept?

In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, Nathan Adelson Hospice accepts the following insurance plans found on our website under “How are hospice services paid for?”

If your plan does not appear on this list, a hospice team member will verify your benefits with your specific insurance company.

What if I Don’t Have Insurance?

A hospice Admissions Coordinator will help you determine your eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid or insurance benefits and assist in finding additional resources for your family, should that need be present.

Our mission is clear: no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain.

We serve all who need us. If Medicare or other insurance plans will not cover the full cost of your hospice care, we can often help. Families living in our community without necessary financial resources can receive assistance from the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation.

This commitment is made possible by the generous and compassionate support of individuals and corporations who make donations to the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation so it may offer end-of-life services for those without insurance or the ability to pay.

Palliative care is not covered by most insurances but can be funded by the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation. The Elaine Wynn Palliative Care Program focuses on relieving and preventing pain, symptoms and stress for patients at any stage of a serious illness.

The goal is improved quality of life for you and your family. The Palliative Care Team is here to help you understand your treatment options and goals.

Final Thoughts

It is all too common to avoid thinking about end-of-life care until there is no choice except to think about it for you or a loved one. Uncertainty, panic and confusion make this vulnerable time for a family ever harder to cope with. We urge everyone to plan for the end of life as much as you would for the beginning. It truly is never too early to start deciding tomorrow today .

Take the first step to complete your advance directives. Let your loved ones truly understand your values and priorities for end-of-life care. Starting these conversations may be difficult but we are here to help and discussing your intentions early will assist your loved ones to feel at peace.