Medicare covers hospice care for two initial 90-day benefit periods, or a total of six months. After this, it will cover an unlimited amount of 60-day (two-month) benefit periods. At the start of each benefit period, your hospice doctor or a related provider must recertify that you have a life expectancy of six months or less.

If you continue hospice past your two initial benefit periods, you are required to have a face-to-face meeting with a hospice doctor or nurse practitioner before the start of each additional 60-day benefit period. Meetings should take place before the end of your current benefit period but no earlier than 30 days before the new benefit period.

You have the right to ask for a review of your case if a hospice provider has declared you no longer eligible for hospice care. This provider is required to give you a notice explaining your right to an expedited appeal. If you do not get this notice, ask for it. Instructions for appealing should be provided on the notice.

You also have the right to change your hospice provider once per benefit period. To change your hospice provider, you must sign a statement naming the new hospice provider you plan to receive care from, your previous hospice provider, and the effective date of the change. This statement must be filed at both hospice agencies.