Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A, sometimes known as hospital insurance, covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home healthcare services. 

Without a Medicare Supplement plan, you will pay a deductible and coinsurance/copayments.

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What Medicare Part A covers

Part A covers: 

  • Inpatient hospital care — Care you receive after you’re admitted into a hospital. You’re covered for up to 90 days each benefit period and 60 lifetime reserve days. Part A also covers up to 190 lifetime days in an approved psychiatric hospital.
  • Skilled nursing facility care — Room, board, and certain services. You’re covered for up to 100 days each benefit period. To qualify for this coverage, you must have spent at least three consecutive days at the hospital within 30 days of admission to the nursing facility, and need their services.
  • Home health care — 100 days of daily care or an unlimited amount of intermittent care. To qualify, you had to have spent at least three consecutive days in the hospital within 14 days of receiving home health care. It is possible to get home health care through Part B if you don’t meet the requirements for Part A. 
  • Hospice care — If your healthcare provider determines you are terminally ill, this is care you can receive that is covered under Part A. Your care is covered for as long as your provider says you need it.

What does Medicare Part A cost?

For most people, there is not a monthly premium for Part A. 

As long as you have worked for at least 10 years, taxes you paid while working went towards paying for your Part A coverage.

There is a deductible, however. In 2020, it is $1,408. 

You will also have some copayments and, if you have lengthy hospital stays, you’ll become responsible for some coinsurance: 

Your coinsurance depends on number of days spent in the hospital: 

  • Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period
  • Days 61-90: $352 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
  • Days 91 and beyond: $704 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
  • Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs

There are some insurance plans called Medicare Supplements that can take care of all of these costs.

How do I enroll in Part A?

If you receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board at least four months before you turn 65 you will be automatically enrolled in Part A. 

If you are eligible for Medicare due to a disability, you’ll be automatically enrolled if you receive disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months. 

If you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) you are automatically enrolled the month your disability benefits begin. 

Everyone else will have to enroll manually. 

You can enroll in Medicare at, by calling them at 1-800-772-1213, or in person at your local Social Security Office.