Study Allows Patients to Accept End-of-life Care With Treatment

As reported in Stateline, beginning next year, the federal government will conduct a five-year, 40-state experiment to determine whether there is a better way to help elderly Americans come to grips with terminal illnesses and prepare to die.

Last month, the Obama administration announced that 141 hospices across the country will offer end-of-life care and counseling to dying Medicare patients at the same time those patients receive treatment to extend their lives. Currently Medicare, the federal health insurance system for people older than 65 or with certain disabilities, requires terminally ill patients to choose one or the other. . . The hope is that by allowing people to pursue both paths, more will opt to receive hospice services that will improve the quality of their remaining days and reduce the cost of end-of-life care. If the experiment is successful, it likely will lead to a similar shift by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor, and by private insurers.

The study should reveal whether there are cost-savings associated with the change due to some patients choosing to forego expensive life-extending treatments, according to Stateline.

For more information, read the full story from Stateline.

The costs of health insurance will be a topic of discussion at the MACo Summer Conference Session, Here Comes the Cadillac Tax, sponsored by the Maryland Association of Human Resources Officers.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.