At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, we want our members to receive the care they want and need, at every stage of their lives. That's why Blue Cross members receive enhanced benefits for end-of-life care, including expanded coverage of hospice care and broader coverage for conversations with doctors and other providers about end-of-life planning and care.
Why are we doing this?
Studies have shown that improved end-of-life care, especially conversations with a doctor, can result in:
- Better quality of life and happiness
- Better coping for family members
- Staying comfortably at home
- Increased survival time
- Care aligned with members' goals and wishes
Have the Conversation
We know that no guide or single conversation can cover all of the decisions that you and your family may need to make when facing an advanced illness. However, a conversation can result in a shared understanding of what matters most to you and your loved ones. Having these conversations, and documenting your wishes in an advance care plan or advance directive, can ease the decision-making process when the time comes. Research has shown that patients who have these conversations, especially end-of-life care conversations, experience many benefits including better mental health and care that is aligned with their goals and wishes. Below are educational resources that may help you in this process.
The Conversation Project helps ensure that every person's wishes for end-of-life care are expressed and respected. The Conversation Project offers the tools, guidance, and resources you need to begin talking with your loved ones and doctor about your wishes and preferences, before a medical crisis.
Honoring Choices Massachusetts is a consumer-focused, nonprofit organization that provides health care planning information to inform and empower adults. The mission is to help adults and families improve their everyday wellness, to plan for the future, and to receive quality care that honors their choices.
Honoring Choices will help you explore and complete the 5 Massachusetts health care planning documents.
Start today with their Getting Started Toolkit.
Cake's online platform guides you through the decision-making process for all aspects of your end-of-life plans. It's an easy way to discover, store, and share your plan with others. (You will need to enter an email address and create a password. There is no cost to participate.)
Cake also has a 50-state resource to help you find and complete your state's advance directive planning documents.
Get Care and Support
Managing advanced illness can be difficult for everyone in the family, but there are special care teams and community resources that can help. Special care for advanced illness can include palliative care and hospice programs.
Palliative care is focused on relieving pain or other symptoms of illness with a goal of improving the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care teams are made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, and others, often at the facility where a patient is receiving treatment, but can also be provided by home health agencies, and other groups that have palliative care programs.
Hospice programs provide a type of palliative care specially designed for those facing advanced illness in the last months of life. Patients are usually referred by a doctor, and are overseen by a team of hospice professionals, with care being administered in the patient's home.
Find care providers and support. Blue Cross members, confirm providers are in your plan's network using the Find a Doctor and Estimate Costs tool.
Find hospice and palliative care providers in Massachusetts.
Find palliative care providers all over the country.
Parents caring for children with serious pediatric illness can get support and resources.
Children in Massachusetts facing serious illnesses may be eligible for the state's Pediatric Palliative Care Network of Services.
For seniors or those caring for a senior family member in Massachusetts can get services and support.