NEW HEALTHCARE LAW WILL EXPAND HOSPICE OPTION

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Hospice Lawyer
About this time last year, voters and politicians were discussing legislation that would establish “death panels” of government bureaucrats who could “pull the plug on Grandma” if she needed costly care.

The new health care law would have paid for voluntary consultations between physicians and Medicare beneficiaries about end-of-life care: living wills, hospice benefits and the like, until it was repealed.

End of life care has been mostly out of the news spotlight.  But 36% of seniors still believe that healthcare reform creates “death panels”.

Many people may not realize that, in some ways, the new law will expand options for patients at the end of life, through hospice.

With hospice care, a team of specially trained providers treats dying patients’ pain and other symptoms but doesn’t try to cure the underlying disease. The team also helps the patients’ families, instructing them in caring techniques and providing bereavement counseling after death. Under current Medicare rules, beneficiaries whose doctors determine that they have less than six months to live can choose hospice care — but only if they forgo further life-prolonging treatment.

Although the vast majority of patients seeking hospice benefits are older than 65, starting in 2013 the new law also allows children who are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to receive both hospice and curative care. Some private insurers, such as Aetna and United Healthcare, have been offering concurrent care to their private-market clients for years.

Contact me personally today to discuss your hospice matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com/.

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