Do I Need Medicare Part B To receive Hospice Care?
Post by: Stephens Funeral Home Staff

There are four parts to Medicare.

·         Part A provides inpatient and hospital coverage.

·         Part B provides outpatient and medical coverage.

·         Part C offers an alternative way to receive your Medicare benefits. This is a type pf health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare.

·         Part D provides prescription drug coverage.

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, since hospice care is typically delivered out of a hospital, Hospice care is fully covered under Medicare Part A. You automatically receive starting Medicare Part A at age 65. So, you do NOT need Medicare Part B to receive Hospice care. With Medicare Part A, there are no costs for hospice care at home or in a hospice in-patient facility.

However, if you are receiving hospice care and ONLY have Medicare Part A, you are not covered for any illness or condition that is not directly related to the terminal condition.

Why you may want to consider enrolling in Medicare Part B.

Let’s say you are over 65 and diagnosed with terminal cancer that limits your life expectancy to six months or less. You will receive hospice benefits under Part A.

However, let’s say that you also have Diabetes. This is a serious but not terminal disease. In this case, since you are in hospice care, the Diabetes will be treated. However, it will likely be with fewer benefits than you could receive under Part B, as the diabetes is not related to your terminal condition. If you want to make sure that you are going to receive coverage for Diabetes treatment, then you would want to make sure to have Medicare Part B coverage.

This brings up a critical issue for Veterans. When your Tricare coverage ends at age 65, you become eligible for "Tricare For Life”, but ONLY if you are enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B.

However, when you enter hospice you do not have to give up "Tricare For Life”, which is very similar in coverage to Medicare Part B. You will continue to receive "Tricare For Life” benefits no matter what happens.

This can mean significant additional financial protection for both the Veteran or spouse enrolled in hospice and their family.

Other benefits to signing up for both Medicare Part B and Part A.

No Enrollment Charges:  If you are enrolled in Medicare A & B, you can also get into "Tricare For Life” with no enrollment charge. This means that if you later develop a terminal illness and enter hospice care with additional, non-terminal conditions you will have multiple financial backups for treatment of those conditions along with hospice.

Secondary Coverage Protection: Tricare For Life offers secondary coverage that kicks in after you receive Medicare Parts A & B benefits and acts like Medicare Supplement or "MediGap” insurance. This means that there is normally no need for a Veteran to consider expensive Medicare supplement insurance. And if a veteran does go into hospice care, the medical care they need outside of that terminal illness will be well-covered.

Extended Prescription Coverage: Tricare For Life offers prescription drug coverage. A Veteran who is under hospice care who needs prescription drugs to treat other non-terminal conditions doesn’t need expensive Medicare Part D coverage for drugs to treat the non-terminal condition This is also true if a Veteran is not in hospice. With "Tricare For Life” you may never need Medicare Part D.

No Penalties for Late Enrollment: If for any reason a Veteran with Tricare For Life decides that they do want Medicare Part D drug coverage too, even after the initial enrollment period has passed, having Tricare For Life is considered "creditable drug coverage.” This means that the Veteran does not have to pay the penalty for late Part D enrollment. This may occur if the Veteran’s terminal illness worsens other nonterminal problems they have that require increasingly expensive medication.

Like most health insurance programs, Tricare For Life is complicated when you are starting from scratch. To help you get up to speed, you can download the official Tricare for Life handbook found on the Tricare Website (


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Stephens Funeral Home - Meridian

Stephens Funeral Home Staff



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