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Taking Care of Mom and Dad: Duration of Hospice Care Coverage

Special benefit periods apply to hospice care. A Medicare beneficiary may elect to receive hospice care for two 90-day periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. The benefit periods may be used consecutively or at intervals. Regardless of how these periods are used, your parents must be certified as terminally ill at the beginning of each time period.

A patient may change hospice programs once each benefit period. A patient also has the right to cancel hospice care at any time and return to standard Medicare coverage, then reelect the hospice benefit in the next benefit period. If a patient cancels during one of the first three benefit periods, any days left in that period are lost.

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