There are a number of options for paying for palliative and hospice care, including:
- Private insurance and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) - Many offer palliative and hospice care benefits. Check with your insurance company or HMO to determine your coverage.
- Medicare - This government insurance program covers people 65 years or older, people younger than 65 who have some chronic conditions and people with kidney failure, no matter their age. Medicare Part A (which all of the above are eligible for) covers all services, medications and equipment provided through a hospice program. If you are a Medicare recipient, you can receive hospice care if two doctors have determined that your life expectancy is six months or less assuming the disease follows its natural course. Medicare Part B (which is optional and which you pay into) may offer palliative coverage, depending on the treatment. Medicare coverage is explained on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. For more information, visit the Medicare Rights Center.
- Medicaid - This government insurance program covers people with very limited income and resources. It is a state program, so coverage varies by state. Medicaid covers hospice benefits in 45 states and Washington, D.C. To find out if your state is one of the 45 or for more information about coverage, ask your doctor.
For more information about palliative and hospice coverage, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's patient website, Caring Connections.