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How to Pay for Hospice Care

What Is Hospice Care?: Page 4

By , Caring.com Senior Editor
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How much hospice care will cost depends on the length and types of services required. But because a patient may receive the care at home rather than in a hospital, and because palliative end-of-life care generally doesn't require a great deal of technical equipment, it's generally less expensive than traditional medical care.

Another thing that helps hold down the cost of hospice care is that most providers have a policy of basing their charges on need rather than an ability to pay.

Still, hospice bills can easily run several thousands of dollars or more if care is required for more than a few months.

Some of the costs must be paid with personal family assets and insurance, at least initially. The vast majority of hospice care bills, however, are currently paid by Medicare, the federal health insurance program that covers some younger people with disabilities and those adults who:

  • are age 65 and older
  • who haven't turned 65 yet but who've received Social Security disability payments for two years, or
  • are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.

In some locales, church and religious groups offer volunteer services and money for those who can't afford to pay for hospice care on their own. In addition, those with limited income and financial resources may qualify for such care through the Medicaid program. And still others receive financial assistance through programs offered by specialized groups, such as the Veterans Health Administration, Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services, or Indian Health Services.