Will my Health Insurance cover Palliative Care?

Palliative care coupled with the right to die with dignity has become a highly visible issue in today’s society. As a broad definition, palliative care is the reduction of suffering rather than the cure of an illness. In previous generations, many doctors felt that disease should be cured, rather than masked with medications. Nowadays, however, people prefer to live in peace as best they can without invasive treatments. Alleviating the symptoms of the disease and living comfortably is the goal of palliative care as a whole. It generally involves medical, physical, emotional, spiritual and social support. Additionally, palliative care also addresses the specific needs of the family members or close caretakers in order to harmonize the whole environment for the individual.

In addition to the stress and burden of the disease, many individuals are further panicked wondering whether or not their health insurance covers palliative care. Sadly, the answer is not a simple yes or no and should be checked by asking for health insurance quotes. In fact, in many instances, the decision will depend on the type of disease or illness, the types of medications required, the specifics of the health insurance policy, and even where the patient resides. Residence is important as it may relate to the country, state, personal home, hospital, hospice, nursing home, retirement home, or long-term care facility. Each venue is handled in an entirely different fashion when coverage is considered for professionals, medications and equipment.

Ironically, there is much debate and conversation regarding this topic in the United States, as the President recently released a document on health care reform. And of course, the biggest scare tactic that lobbyists are using is to state that people will not be able to make their own decisions, that in fact, the government or some health insurance company will dictate what happens, however – depending on your health insurance plan, that will still be the case for some time. Reform will be some time in the future and the best thing that individuals can do for themselves right now is to understand their existing policy.

And not only should those individuals who are presently affected by disease research their options, but also, all individuals should take steps now for their futures. Debilitating and devastating diagnoses are made everyday and it is prudent to make your decisions now while you are mentally more capable of determining what is right for you. Find health insurance companies with specific policies that meet your criteria. Put in place a plan now that will meet your wishes and financial requirements if and when the time comes – and if needed go in for some supplemental health insurance that WILL cover palliative care.

Further, it is important to ask many questions of your health insurance company. Do not generalize but instead expect detailed answers. Be specific inquiring about equipment, medications, available services, and where you must live in order to receive benefits. Lastly, age is a determining factor as social programs may exist for seniors, for example, while others may be eligible for assistance from charitable organizations.