Paying for Hospice Care

Medicare and paying for hospice

Hospice is a generous Medicare benefit you have earned

Hospice is a generous Medicare benefit you have earned

Hospice is covered by Medicare, Veterans Affairs benefits, Medicaid and most private insurance policies. These benefits offer patients the opportunity for a dignified, comfortable, and peaceful end of life without an overwhelming financial burden. 

Medicare typically pays 100 percent of expenses if these requirements are met.

  • The person seeking hospice is eligible for Medicare Part A.
  • 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.
  • You or your loved receive care from Medicare-approved hospice program.
Medicare What's Covered app

Visit the hospice information page on

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

See our pages about hospice benefits for veterans (PDF, 210 KB)

Compassus is fully Medicare approved in every state we serve.

Hospice services covered by Medicare include:

  • Doctor and on-call nursing care
  • Medical equipment, supplies and medications for pain and other symptoms
  • Medical social services
  • Spiritual care and support
  • Dietary counseling
  • Support from volunteers
  • Hospice aide and homemaker services
  • Physical, occupational, dietary and speech therapies
  • Music, pet or massage therapies as appropriate. Call our local locations to see if services are available near you.
  • Short-term inpatient respite care (relief) for caregivers
  • Grief counseling for patient, family and friends

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 have a Medicare Advantage plan, that plan will be responsible for other costs.

How long can someone receive hospice care using Medicare?

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.

If the patient lives longer than six months, hospice care is still available, as long as the hospice medical director or another hospice doctor re-certifies the terminal illness. Hospice eligibility

Room and board costs at a nursing home, hospital or other facility are not covered by the Medicare hospice benefit?

Hospice care services are covered wherever you call home, but Medicare does not pay anything toward room and board expenses. The exception is short-term inpatient or respite care.

Prescription drug costs

Medications prescribed for pain and symptom management may require a co-payment of $5 or less. Call one of our local offices for details about any potential costs to you.

How is the Medicare hospice benefit payed?

The patient will not receive a bill for the services covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Medicare pays the hospice directly.

Contact one of our local hospice locations for details about coverage and hospice care.