Hospice care is another of the services covered by Medicare part a hospital insurance. A hospice is a medical facility that cares for terminally ill patients, offering pain relief and other support services. Typically, the atmosphere is more home-like than the average hospital. Medicare will help cover the cost when a person is terminally ill, assuming the hospice is Medicare-certified, and meets certain conditions. However, there are special benefit periods for hospice care. Medicare allows a maximum of two 90-day periods of hospice care, one 30-day period, and one extension period of indefinite length. It's important to note that hospice care is not the same as custodial care. Custodial care is defined as care that could be safely given by a person who is not medically skilled; most nursing homes fall under this category. If you or a loved one has a terminal illness, check with the social security office, for more details on hospice care. They can help you verify if a facility is approved, and explain how your Medicare benefits apply. Call social security toll-free, at 1-800-772-1213. Or, visit their website, at www.ssa.gov.