Real Life Story
Hospice Facts & Figures


  • Medicare spends $1.2 billion of its $200 billion budget on hospice services.
  • Medicaid spends $129 million.
  • More than 80 percent of employees of medium and large companies have hospice coverage; 82 percent of managed care plans offer them.
  • As the largest payer of hospice care, Medicare sets the payment policies for other insurers. Under Medicare, hospice care can be provided for up to 210 days or sometimes longer. It also can help pay for hospital care as well as for a variety of services not usually covered by Medicare, including homemaker services, counseling, and prescription drugs. It pays nearly the entire bill.
  • Hospice care is much less costly than a hospital stay: Medicare pays about $108 a day, compared to the $500 to $1,000 daily rate of a hospital.


  • 78 percent of hospice patients have cancer; ten percent have heart-related diagnoses; four percent have AIDS; one percent renal diagnosis; one percent Alzheimer's.
  • 85 percent of hospice patients are white.
  • 68 to 72 percent are 65 and older.
  • 77 percent of hospice patients die at home.
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