Does Medicare Cover Cremation and Other End-of-Life Expenses?

Does Medicare Cover Cremation and Other End-of-Life Expenses?

As people near the end of their lives, one of the common concerns that they face is how they will pay for their final expenses, including funeral, cremation, or burial costs.  

Will Medicare pay for cremation or other burial and funeral expenses, or will you have to find another way to finance the costs?  

It's an important question that deserves an answer. It’s important to understand what your options are so you can make the best decision and make arrangements in advance to avoid placing a significant financial burden on loved ones.

Get Your End-of-Life Funeral Planner

What songs should play at your funeral? What memory is most important to you? What years did you serve in the military? Who should your family contact? Write it all down today.

Get Your Planner
Get Your End-of-Life Funeral Planner

Funeral and Burial Choices

When planning your end-of-life wishes, there are a few different options to consider:

  • Traditional burial
  • Green burial
  • Donate your body to science
  • Have your remains cremated to be kept by family or scattered by family in a meaningful location

No matter your choice, a meaningful funeral is an important part of honoring the life of a loved one. Planning ahead can help ensure that all end-of-life expenses are taken care of and provide peace of mind for your family.


Cremation has become an increasingly popular choice for end-of-life funeral services due to its convenience and affordability.  

Cremation typically involves the burning of a body into ashes, which can then be stored in an urn or scattered in a meaningful location. Some crematoriums also offer additional services, such as having your remains turned into jewelry or artwork.

The cost of cremation will vary depending on the services provided, but at an average of $1,500-$4,000, it is generally much less expensive than a traditional burial.

Here are some things to consider when deciding if cremation is right for you.

Cremation Advantages

  • Cost-effective: Cremation is much more affordable than a traditional burial, making it ideal for those on a limited budget.
  • Flexible memorial services: Cremation allows for a variety of memorial services and options, including scattering the ashes in an area that was meaningful to the deceased or storing them in an urn at home or in a cemetery.
  • Eco-friendly option: Cremation does not require burial space, which helps conserve land used for cemeteries and funeral homes.

Cremation Disadvantages

  • No grave marker: There is no physical grave marker with cremation, so there is no physical location to visit and remember your loved one.
  • Can be an emotionally difficult process: Saying goodbye can be hard even when you are surrounded by family and friends; it may be even more difficult when there is no physical body present during the ceremony or service.

Traditional burials

The conventional way to lay a deceased person to rest is by burying them in the ground, typically in a designated burial ground.

This type of funeral service is typically more expensive than cremation and requires additional services such as embalming and purchasing a casket and/or burial plot.

Green burials

Green burials are a growing trend among those who wish to have an eco-friendly funeral service. Green burials avoid using embalming chemicals and refrain from burying the body in metal caskets or concrete chambers.

Instead of these traditional materials, natural bodies are buried in biodegradable containers made from simple materials such as cotton, wool, or bamboo and are often done in natural settings such as meadows, forests, or even on private property.

Green burials limit the environmental impact of funerals by reducing the amount of energy and resources used to prepare and bury a body. It also eliminates the need for a large cemetery plot since bodies can be buried in much smaller spaces than those required for traditional gravesites.

Donating your body to science

Donating your body to science can be a powerful way to give something back to society long after you’re gone. By donating, you’re helping advance medical research and provide valuable educational opportunities for future generations of healthcare professionals.

The process of donating your body begins with signing the necessary paperwork and discussing final arrangements with the donation organization.  

Once a body has been accepted, it is used in scientific research or medical training programs that help further our understanding of anatomy and physiology. Bodies are also used in forensic studies to help solve crimes or identify victims from accidents or disasters.

Donation organizations typically cover all associated costs and after the body is used for research, the body is cremated at no cost to you.

Does Medicare Cover Cremation or Other End-of-Life Expenses?

While Medicare can provide coverage for a wide range of medical expenses for seniors, no matter which end-of-life arrangements you chose, Medicare will not cover the cost of funeral or burial expenses – including cremation.

Those relying solely on Medicare for payment should plan ahead and find other ways to cover these costs so they don't leave the burden to their loved ones after their passing.

Will Social Security Pay for Funeral Costs?

Although Social Security will not directly pay for funeral expenses, it may be possible to receive a one-time Social Security death benefit if you are the surviving spouse or child of a deceased worker who had earned enough Social Security credits.

However, the one-time payment is only $255 which will not go very far considering the average cost of a funeral nowadays can reach or even exceed $10,000.

So, it's best to look into different options to cover the costs.  

Insurance Options That Will Cover Your Choice of End-of-life Arrangements

Whether you ultimately chose cremation or a different type of burial arrangement, final expense insurance is an excellent option to consider.

Final expense insurance is a simple insurance plan that will pay a lump sum to the beneficiary on the policy which they can then use to pay for anything they choose – including cremation.

Get a final expense insurance quote

Here are a few things that make getting a final expense insurance plan an easy decision:

  • Your benefit will never decrease nor will your rates ever increase: As long as you pay your premiums on time, your benefit and rates are locked in.
  • No medical exams: In most cases, just a quick medical questionnaire and a phone interview will get you started.
  • Affordable coverage: Get adequate coverage for an affordable, monthly rate.
  • Covers cremation and/or funeral costs: No matter what end-of-life arrangements you choose, a final expense insurance plan can help cover those costs.  


While no one likes to think about their death, planning ahead can help avoid leaving your family burdened with end-of-life expenses.

Take the first step towards securing the financial aspect of your end-of-life wishes by getting a final expense insurance quote from one of our licensed sales agents today.  

The Sams/Hockaday team specializes in providing affordable final expense insurance policies to seniors and can help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Get Your End-of-Life Funeral Planner

What songs should play at your funeral? What memory is most important to you? What years did you serve in the military? Who should your family contact? Write it all down today.

Get Your Planner
Get Your End-of-Life Funeral Planner

Here's what our clients say…

Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 4 organizations which offer 41 products in your area. Please contact, 1‑800‑MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.