If you elect the Medicare hospice benefit, you receive palliative care (relief of pain and symptoms) for your terminal illness. Hospice care is always covered under Original Medicare, even if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. This means that the hospice benefit works and costs the same whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

You can still get Medicare coverage for treatment for all illnesses and injuries unrelated to your terminal condition. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, Original Medicare also pays for curative treatments unrelated to your terminal condition after you elect hospice. However, if you follow plan rules concerning your care, such as using network providers, you will owe your usual Medicare Advantage co-pays for any care you receive. If you do not follow plan rules for care (e.g., you do not use your Medicare Advantage Plan’s network of providers), you will pay the usual costs for care under Original Medicare. There will also be different costs and coverage for your prescription medications unrelated to your terminal condition.

Keep in mind, if your Medicare Advantage Plan has additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare, such as routine vision and dental care, Medicare Advantage will still cover these benefits and the usual costs and rules will apply.