PA 08-158—sSB 558

Human Services Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF HOSPICE SERVICES UNDER THE MEDICAID PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to amend the Medicaid state plan to add hospice services, beginning January 1, 2009. Previously, the state provided Medicaid-funded home health care services but not the full panoply of hospice-type benefits required by Medicaid law. Under federal Medicaid law, states have the option to cover these services.

The act also makes a technical change.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2009

BACKGROUND

Hospice Services as State Plan Benefit

Medicaid state plan coverage for hospice is based on the Medicare benefit, which is available to people who are enrolled in Medicare Part A. Congress added the benefit to Medicaid in 1985 to help low-income individuals who were under 65 (and not eligible for Medicare) get the benefits. A state that elects this coverage agrees to offer a “bundled” benefit package, which includes a number of end-of-life services (e. g. , bereavement counseling) plus medical services that the regular home health care benefit (which Connecticut offers) does not cover. Additionally, the state plan benefit offers hospice care in nursing homes, which is not currently available in Connecticut. Federal law prohibits Medicaid from paying for regular home health care services provided in this setting unless the state elects the hospice option.

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