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Paying for Hospice: Medicare / Medicaid / More Options

Hospice care is paid for in a variety of ways. This section explains the type of payment coverages that are available, and explains what services are covered.

Medicare.  If the terminally ill individual is a Medicare beneficiary, hospice is a covered benefit under Part A.  All other Medicare services continue under Parts A & B, including those of the person’s attending physician. Hospice payments do not interfere with any other Medicare payments for other illnesses, diseases or care. Hospices listed in HospiceDirectory.org will indicate if they are Medicare certified.

Medicaid.  Nearly all states and the District of Columbia offer hospice coverage under Medicaid. In general, Medicaid hospice benefits parallel the Medicare benefit, although there may be some variations in certain states. Hospices listed in HospiceDirectory.org will indicate if they are Medicaid certified.

Private Insurance.  Most insurance plans issued by employers and many managed care plans offer a hospice benefit. In most cases, the coverage is similar to the Medicare benefit, although there may be some variations between employers.

Tricare.  Tricare is the health benefits program for military personnel and retirees. Hospice is a fully covered benefit under TRICARE. Only Medicare-certified hospices can provide for the TRICARE hospice benefit, therefore it is important that patients and family check with their Health Benefit Advisor or Health Care Finder to help them locate a qualified hospice agency. Hospices listed in HospiceDirectory.org will indicate if they are Medicare certified.

Private Pay.  If insurance coverage is unavailable or insufficient, the patient and the patient’s family can discuss private pay and payment plans.

Charity Care.  Under Medicare law, no person may be refused hospice care due to inability to pay. Each hospice has a financial specialist on staff to answer questions about receiving financial assistance. Funds may be available from donations, gifts, grants or other community sources to help cover the costs of care.