Concerns Rising Over Costs, Misuse of Hospice Services
As more Medicare beneficiaries turn to hospice care at the end of their lives, concerns are rising about the cost and potential misuse of such programs. Hospice services have become more popular in recent years, with Medicare's costs for hospice care increasing from $2.9 billion in 2000 to more than $12 billion in 2009. Although hospice care is designed to benefit patients with barely six months to live, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has found that 19% of patients now remain in hospice care for longer periods of time.
- "Concerns About Costs Rise With Hospices' Use" (Rau, Kaiser Health News/New York Times, 6/27).