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Paying for Hospice Care

Hospice care is paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, Medicaid Hospice Benefit and most private insurers.

The Medicare Hospice Benefit

The Medicare hospice benefit covers virtually all aspects of hospice care with little out-of-pocket expense to the patient or family. As a result, the financial burden often associated with caring for a seriously ill patient is lifted.

Medicare covers these hospice services and pays nearly all of their costs:

  • Doctor services
  • Nursing care
  • Medical equipment (like wheelchairs or walkers)
  • Medical supplies (like bandages and catheters)
  • Drugs for symptom control and pain relief
  • Short-term care in the hospital or hospice facility, including respite and inpatient for pain and symptom management
  • Home health aide and homemaker services
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Social work services
  • Dietary counseling
  • Grief support

Medicare will still pay for covered benefits for any health problems that are not related to a terminal illness. Families making end-of-life decisions for a loved one need compassion and support, not financial worries. The Medicare Hospice Benefit helps alleviate these concerns.

The Medicaid Hospice Benefit

Medicaid is a government healthcare program that provides low-cost health insurance to low income individuals and families, pregnant women and the disabled. Medicaid-eligible patients will receive a hospice benefit that is nearly identical to the Medicare hospice benefit (see above). 

Private Insurance

For patients who are not eligible for the Medicare or Medicaid hospice benefit, private insurance might be an option. Most private insurance companies model their coverage after the Medicare benefit and cover all hospice costs.