Hospice is most often paid for as a defined benefit of Medicare. However, hospice may also be paid for as part of a Medicare Advantage plan, by state Medicaid plans, or, in the case of children and others covered by private insurance, by private insurance. There may be different services covered by different sources of payment, so be sure to discuss the source of payment and the services that are covered with your hospice team.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare covers hospice care costs through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan, once your hospice benefit starts, Original Medicare will cover everything you need related to your terminal illness. Original Medicare will cover these services even if you choose to remain in a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan.
Veterans’ Administration (VA) benefits also cover hospice care. Learn more from the VA.
The coverage of hospice care by Medicaid is optional and varies by state so be sure to read up at Medicaid.
Many work-based and private insurance plans provide at least some coverage for hospice care. It’s best to check with your insurance company because there are different types of plans available that may or may not cover hospice services. There are also different ways a person can be considered eligible for hospice care and what costs are covered can vary based on the health plan you have.
If you are uninsured
For people who are not insured, or who may not have full coverage for hospice services, some hospice organizations may offer care at no cost or at a reduced rate based on your ability to pay. They can often do this because of donations, grants, or other sources. Nearly all hospices have financial support staff who can help you with this, answer your questions, and help you get the care you need.