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Who Pays For Hospice Care?

Dealing With The Financial Costs of Hospice Care


Updated June 06, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

The costs associated with hospice care deter many families away from receiving it. However, with careful planning and knowledge of resources, hospice care can be affordable.

Private Insurance Coverage

Many private insurance companies cover hospice care. Inpatient services at hospices located in a hospital may have a daily charge. See your policy for more information, or meet with your local agent.


Medicaid covers hospice care in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Medicaid is state funded insurance offered to low income families. Coverage varies from state to state. Contact your local Department of Health office for more information about Medicaid.


Medicare hospice benefits are covered under Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). There are several prerequisites to receive hospice benefits:

  • You meet all eligibility requirements of Medicare Part A.

  • You have been certified to be terminally ill from your physician and the hospice director. The certification must attest that you have 6 months or less to live.

  • You must sign a statement declaring your choice of hospice care instead of normal Medicare benefits.

  • The hospice you choose must accept Medicare.

For more information on Medicare Hospice Benefit, please see the Medicare Hospice Guide, a government publication provided by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Grants and Donations

Many hospice centers receive grants and donations from various sources to help cover costs for care. Funding from these sources is usually applied to patients who do not have health insurance, or the cost share of their insurance is very high.

Each hospice has a financial specialist on staff to answer any inquiries about receiving financial assistance.

As you can see, hospice care isn't just limited to those who can pay out of pocket. One of the goals is to limit the financial burden on the patient and their family. Most hospices accept all private insurances, Medicare and Medicaid. Claims are processed expediently to ensure care is given as soon as possible.
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