Paying for Hospice Care

Patient support covered by hospice benefits

Hospice care is covered by Medicare, VA benefits including TRICARE, Medicaid and many private insurance policies. These benefits offer patients and their families end-of-life care without overwhelming financial burdens.

For eligible patients, Medicare provides physical, emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families. It covers medications, personal supplies and home medical equipment related to a terminal illness.

Medicare, Medicare Advantage 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.
  • Support is provided in a private home, nursing home, a hospital or anywhere a person calls home.

Some medications may require a 5-percent co-pay. Providers customize a plan of care with input from you and your doctors. Talk with your hospice agency early and often about possible out-of-pocket expenses.

Hospice services include respite care for families needing a short break from in-home care. Patients or their family are responsible for 5 percent of the cost of respite care at a Medicare-approved facility.

Medicare and VA coverage for hospice

Medicare What's Covered app

Medicare and VA 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

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

Hospice care is a VA benefit for qualified Veterans in the final chapter of their lives, typically six months or less. The VA works closely with local hospice agencies to provide care at home, in a nursing facility or hospital.

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. 

Medicaid Benefits for End-of-Life Care

Medicaid hospice benefits vary by state. Coverage is most states is similar to Medicare benefits. Some states require a co-pay for certain hospice services, usually determined by income. Hospice eligibility requirements and services are similar for Medicare and Medicaid.

Covered Hospice Services

Frequently asked questions

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.

Next Steps

Call our customer service center at 833-380-9583 if you have questions.

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