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How Much Does Palliative Care Cost?

Palliative care is a type of medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It is typically used when treatments to cure an illness are no longer effective. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of a serious illness and can be used alongside curative treatment, but the costs associated with this treatment can be confusing. Here's what to expect if you're considering palliative care for a loved one (or for yourself).

How much does palliative care cost per day?

The cost of palliative care can vary depending on the setting in which it is provided. The average cost of palliative care is estimated to be around $95 / day for in-home care. According to the National Institute of Health, the average cost per hospital patient receiving palliative care was $32,643 per admission. These are estimates and averages and will vary greatly depending on whether the patient has insurance, the type of insurance they have, whether they have Medicare (and what Medicare they have), the setting, the illness, the length of time, and many other factors.

What is the cost of palliative care at home?

The estimated average cost of palliative care given at home is around $95 / day. This number will change depending on a number of factors, so it's best to consult with the palliative care team you're considering and your insurance.

Does Medicare cover palliative care at home?

Medicare is split into different parts, which all cover different aspects of the medical system. Some parts of Medicare will cover palliative care at home, while other parts will not. In addition, some parts of Medicare will only cover palliative care if it's considered hospice care (as in, the patient has been diagnosed with less than 6 months to live). Here's an overview of what the different parts of Medicare coverage:

Medicare Part A

In general, Medicare Part A covers the following:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Medicare suggests either talking to your doctor or provider about the types of services you need and asking whether Medicare will cover them. You can also use this tool to find out if Medicare will cover the service, item, or supply you're looking for. Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers the following services:

  • Clinical research
  • Ambulance services
  • Durable medical equipment (DME)
  • Mental health (inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization)
  • Limited outpatient prescription drugs

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) may offer coverage for prescription drugs that help ease pain or other symptoms in addition to covering long-term care that's associated with personal needs. Medicare Part C plans also provide the same benefits as Medicare Part A & B, excluding hospice services and clinical trials.

Medicare part D

Medicare Part D is the drug coverage part of Medicare that helps you pay for drug costs associated with palliative care.

Who pays for palliative care?

Palliative care is paid for most often by private insurance companies, Medicare coverage, or by the individual. Given the expense associated with palliative care (and the sometimes unknown amount of time a patient will be in palliative care), the costs associated with palliative care can become quite high.

If you need financial assistance to help pay for palliative care, talk to the palliative care team or your doctor about other possible options or sources of financial assistance.

What's the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

Palliative care and hospice care are both types of comfort care, but there are some key differences between the two.

Palliative care is a type of medical care that focuses on symptom relief and improving the quality of life for people with a serious illness. It can be given at any stage of a serious illness, and can be used alongside curative treatments (like chemotherapy). Palliative care is mostly paid for by private insurance or by a combination of Medicare plans.

Hospice care is a type of palliative care that's given to patients who have been diagnosed with 6 months or less to live. Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than curative treatments. Hospice care is almost entirely covered by Medicare.

Families and individuals have also used Ever Loved to set up a memorial fundraiser for someone nearing the end of life (or who has already passed). These fundraisers can help you cover costs associated with palliative care, hospice care, or other medical costs (as well as other causes or expenses you may want to cover). Starting a memorial website is easy, free, and can be done in under 10 minutes.

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Last updated May 31, 2022
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