Paying for Hospice

There are a variety of payment sources for hospice care. In general, hospice care services are covered by usual forms of payment for medical services: Medicare, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare and private insurance. If you decide on a hospice program, be sure to ask about how services will be billed and if you qualify for any or all of the coverage options described below.

Medicare Part A

You may choose this comprehensive benefit if:

  • You are eligible for Medicare Part A;
  • Your physician and the hospice medical director certify that you have a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less;
  • You enroll in hospice instead of the standard Medicare benefits for care of the terminal illness;
  • You receive care from a Medicare-certified hospice program.

Important Facts about Medicare and Hospice:

  • Medicare pays only for services that are authorized by the hospice program. You may discontinue the hospice benefit at any time and resume your standard Medicare benefit.
  • While enrolled in hospice, standard Medicare benefits are still available for treatment of health problems unrelated to the terminal illness, and all Part B benefits for physician services are also available.
  • If the hospice you choose is not Medicare certified, it will provide some services and will work with other agencies to provide services that will be paid for by Medicare.
  • The Hospice Medicare benefit does not cover 24 hour care.

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare

If you are eligible for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare, you have a hospice benefit which includes the same services as the Medicare Hospice Benefit. To find out if you are eligible for coverage, contact your county’s Public Healthcare Program by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Commercial Insurance

If you have health care coverage through a private or commercial insurer, always contact your insurance company to find out specific coverage for end-of-life services.

If you decide on a hospice program, talk to your provider about how services will be billed if you qualify for both Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance.