What Cancer Patients Want May Not Be Covered By Medicare
Patients and their caregivers want options such as home-based long term care and palliative care delivered alongside treatment -- options that Medicare may not define as "reasonable and necessary," according to a Duke University study.
Reuters: What Cancer Patients Want And What Medicare Covers May Differ
When asked what Medicare should cover for cancer patients in their last months of life, many patients and their caregivers choose benefits the federal insurance does not offer, like home-based long term care and concurrent palliative care, according to a new study based on interviews. Given an array of options, a limited budget and a chance to discuss the choices, patients and caregivers were not very likely to devote all coverage to curative cancer treatment, said lead author Donald H. Taylor Jr., of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (Doyle, 9/10).
Kaiser Health News: You're Being Observed In The Hospital? Patients With Private Insurance Better Off Than Seniors
An increasing number of seniors who spend time in the hospital are surprised to learn that they were not "admitted" patients -- even though they may have stayed overnight in a hospital bed and received treatment, diagnostic tests and drugs. Because they were not considered sick enough to require admission but also were not healthy enough to go home, they were kept for observation care, a type of outpatient service. The distinction between inpatient status and outpatient status matters: Seniors must have three consecutive days as admitted patients to qualify for Medicare coverage for follow-up nursing home care .... But most observation patients with private health insurance don't face such tough choices. Private insurance policies generally pay for nursing home coverage whether a patient had been admitted or not (Jaffe, 9/11).