The Cost of End of Life Care

end of life care

One thing most people do not consider during the last stages of their own life or a loved one’s life is the expense associated with it. A 2015 study in the American Journal of Public Health stated that about 13.6 percent of the $1.6 trillion spent on personal health care went towards end of life care.

Hospice and other necessary care at the end of one’s life can be expensive, and often times it becomes the burden of family and other loved ones. Here are the two main things that tend to cost the most at the end of one’s life.

Hospice/Home Care

As more and more people rely on hospice or home health care as they’re dying, this ends up being a significant chunk of end-of-life spending. While hospice care is covered by most private insurances as well as Medicare and Medicaid, patients still must pay at least a portion of room and board costs of whatever facility they’re staying at.

According to statistics compiled by America’s Debt Help Organization, these are the average costs paid by Medicare. Medicare covered 80 percent of the 2.6 million Americans who died in the year 2014.

  •      Routine home care – $146.63 per day for daily patient needs.
  •      Continuous home care – $855.79 per day for managing symptoms and pain and other needs at home.
  •      Inpatient respite care – $151.67 per day to relieve unpaid caregivers when they need a break.
  •      General inpatient care – $652.27 per day for non-home care.

Among seniors covered by Medicare who died in 2014, Medicare spending averaged $34,529 per person, about four times higher than the average cost for a senior who lived out the entirety of 2014, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Approximately half of all Medicare spending for people who died in a given year goes toward hospital inpatient expenses, while hospice and home care each made up about 10 percent of Medicare spending

So while hospice and home care is costly, it is more often than not covered by some type of insurance plan. Anything that falls outside of the defined services within hospice care (nurse and physician care, social work services, counseling, medication and other medical supplies, physical and occupational therapy) will usually not be covered.

Funeral Expenses

While most people don’t want to think about funeral expenses while they are enduring the end of their life, having these plans in place and if possible, paid for advance, can relieve a lot of the burden and stress left on family members and loved ones.

According to the National Funeral Director’s Association, these are some of the national average costs of funeral and burial services as of 2014:

  •      Basic funeral home services: $2,000
  •      Embalming: $695
  •      Staff for funeral and visitation: $915
  •      Metal casket: $2,395
  •      Cremation costs: $1,610

Totaling up other related expenses, the average funeral with a visitation and burial is $7,181 while a funeral with visitation and cremation is $6,078. This does not take into account any additional services such as flowers, religious services, gravestones and more.

Funeral costs can also vary widely depending on choices made– what kind of casket or urn? Will the person be buried, cremated or placed in a mausoleum? Will the visitation or viewing be at a funeral home or a church?

Funeral arrangements can be made in advance so they not only are in accordance with the dying person’s wishes, but also so these decisions are already set when the person passes away, whether it is expected or not. Money can also be set aside in advance to pay for funeral expenses.

One thought on “The Cost of End of Life Care

  • By youtube0mp3 - Reply

    Although health care for older adults is generally more costly and the majority of costs in the last year of life are paid by Medicare, such analyses exclude the substantial health care costs paid by Medicaid, private insurers, and individuals themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>