Hospice Care Costs and Medicare Coverage

Hospice is a generous Medicare benefit you have earned

Patient support covered by hospice benefits

Hospice is a generous Medicare benefit you have earned

Hospice care costs are covered by Medicare, VA benefits, Tricare, Medicaid and most private insurance policies. These benefits offer patients a dignified and comfortable end of life without overwhelming financial burdens.

For patients with Medicare, benefits covers all services related to the terminal illness. There are no co-pays or out-of-pocket costs.

Care is also covered for patients with Medicare Advantage or Medigap. Care related to a terminal illness follows Original Medicare’s cost and coverage rules. Patients then have the option to keep their Advantage plan or use Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to cover other health care services not related to the terminal condition. Learn more about hospice coverage with Medicare Advantage.

Medicare and other insurance plans typically cover expenses if these requirements are met

  • Your doctor and a medical director from a hospice program certify the patient has six months or less to live, if the illness runs its normal course.
  • The patient signs a statement choosing hospice instead of curative treatments for their terminal illness. You can stop hospice and return to curative treatment at any time.
  • The patient receives care from a Medicare-approved hospice program.

Medicare coverage for hospice

Medicare What's Covered app

Medicare coverage for hospice

Medicare has a mobile app called What’s Covered, to help you understand coverage. Find the What's Covered app in Google Play or the Apple App store.

Visit the hospice information page on Medicare.gov.

Compassus is Medicare approved in every state we serve. Ask your health provider or have them call a Compassus location to verify Medicare or private coverage and benefits.

Private insurance for hospice care costs

Most private insurance health plans cover the cost of hospice and palliative care. These plans typically have eligibility requirements that match Medicare and offer the same list of services.

Talk to your insurance provider for details about eligibility, deductibles and possible co-pays. A few insurance plans have unique requirements for respite care or general inpatient care. 

Hospice services for patients and their families

Frequently asked questions

What about Medicare coverage for other services?

You still get Medicare coverage for treatment of illnesses or injuries unrelated to your terminal illness. For example, Medicare would continue to cover diabetes care and medications. However, the costs you usually pay for services will apply. If you decide to keep your Medicare Advantage plan, that plan will be responsible for other costs.

How long can someone receive hospice Medicare beneftis?

The hospice benefit includes two 90-day benefit periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods. Hospice patients receive care as long as the doctor and the hospice medical director certify that the patient is terminally ill.

Are room and board costs at a nursing home or other facility a covered Medicare hospice benefit?

Medicare does not pay anything toward room and board expenses. The exception is short-term inpatient or respite care.

What happens if a patient is eligible for Medicare and also covered by workplace insurance or a spouse's workplace policy?

The workplace or private insurance is the primary coverage. Medicare serves as secondary coverage.

Understand your options

Visit our locations page to find a hospice program near you. Call the location 24/7 for information or to schedule a free consultation.

If you have questions or want to talk about care options, you may also call our customer service center at  833-380-9583 or use the form on this page.