A Place for Mom
Assisted Living
Memory Care
Independent Living
Senior Living
Caregiver and senior at home smiling with breakfast

Who Pays for Palliative Care at Home?

Written by Leah Hallstrom
3 minute readLast updated February 6, 2023
Reviewed by Todd AustinTodd Austin, a "40 Under 40" winner and home care expert, heads Home Care Pulse, a leading home care agency software solution.
More info

Palliative care is a type of comfort care that focuses on pain and symptom management for chronic conditions or serious illnesses, often including emotional support as well as medical treatments. While many seniors receive palliative care at local hospitals, clinics, or hospices, some families seek in-home comfort services at a personal residence. But who pays for palliative care at home? The answer depends on your loved one’s unique medical condition, what services they require, and where they choose to receive care.

Key Takeaways

  1. Palliative care includes medical and nonmedical services. It offers comfort care services from spiritual guidance to pain and symptom management.
  2. Insurance coverage varies depending on where seniors receive care and what services they need. What’s covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance differs based on each unique situation.
  3. There are different ways to pay for in-home palliative care. Outside of standard insurance, families often consider using private savings or selling a parent’s house.
  4. Seniors can get inpatient, outpatient, or home-based palliative care. If in-home palliative services aren’t an option, consider seeking comfort care at a hospital or clinic.

Palliative care services and support for seniors

Palliative care can help seniors navigate life-limiting illnesses and chronic health issues. To be eligible to receive palliative care, your parent must have a doctor’s referral for their condition.

Palliative care professionals often provide support for seniors with a variety of conditions, which may include the following:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
  • Cancer
  • Liver and renal disease
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure or heart disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Palliative care teams focus on managing pain and debilitating symptoms of these and other illnesses. Caregivers can also provide emotional support, spiritual guidance, and help with decision-making about treatment and care options.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Does insurance cover palliative care at home?

Some insurance policies will likely cover the medical services of at-home palliative care including home health services and prescriptions. However, the broad spectrum of in-home palliative care services may not be fully covered.

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance often cover inpatient and outpatient palliative care. Your loved one’s unique medical situation and where they choose to receive care — whether at a hospital, hospice, or local medical center — will affect coverage.

  • Medicare guidelines don’t specifically outline coverage of at-home palliative care, as every senior’s case is different. While it’s likely that Medicare will cover some in-home palliative expenses, like home health aides and medications, other services will have to be paid out-of-pocket. Medicare Part A will cover palliative care if you’ve also accepted hospice benefits. Medicare Part B can cover medical fees (like doctor’s visits) for outpatient palliative care. Medicare Part D covers prescription medications, many of which are associated with palliative care plans.

Talk with a Senior Living Advisor

Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.

  • Medicaid coverage will vary on a state-by-state basis. Some states provide full coverage for palliative care for specific illnesses, while others only cover inpatient medical costs.
  • Private insurance will likely cover a portion of palliative care. However, if you choose to receive care at home, there may be unique conditions insurance companies will require seniors to meet.

Seniors and their families opting for in-home palliative care should be aware that there are likely some treatments and medications that won’t be covered. Copayments, coinsurance, and policy premiums will likely still apply before palliative services are covered.

Because coverage varies depending on condition, place of treatment, and insurance plan, be sure to connect with your parent’s insurance agent or Medicare representative to get personalized cost quotes.

Exploring alternative payment options

If your family member’s insurance doesn’t cover the entire cost of in-home palliative care, there are other options to consider. Families often take a mix-and-match approach to pay for home care.

  • Personal savings like retirement funds, pensions, or stocks can be used to supplement parts of in-home palliative care that aren’t covered by insurance.
  • Long-term care insurance plans may include home care benefits. Contact your parent’s insurance agent to see if palliative services are covered by their senior care insurance policy.
  • Selling the family home is one option many consider when looking for opportunities to pay for senior care. Some also choose to rent their home and use it as an investment property. If selling or renting is out of the question, explore how a reverse mortgage could fund long-term care.

While it can be hard to support a parent as they’re navigating a serious medical condition, being prepared to manage finances together can make the journey less difficult.


Meet the Author
Leah Hallstrom

Leah Hallstrom is a copywriter at A Place for Mom, crafting articles on senior living topics like home health, memory care, and hospice services. Previously, she worked as a communications professional in academia. Leah holds bachelor’s degrees in communication studies and psychology from the University of Kansas.

Edited by

Danny Szlauderbach

Reviewed by

Todd Austin

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

Make the best senior care decision