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Medicare 101

Understanding Medicare Part A

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published October 31, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare Part A, also referred to as Medicare hospital insurance, helps cover inpatient care for Medicare recipients. This includes some services provided in skilled nursing facilities, hospice and certain home health care services.

Medicare Part A comes without a monthly premium if you paid Medicare taxes for 10 years (40 quarters) while working. If you have to pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage, it can be as high as $499 a month in 2022.

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Part A Benefit Periods

Medicare Part A benefit periods are not annual. Instead, they are based on how long you've been discharged from the hospital. 

One Part A benefit period begins the day you are admitted to the hospital and ends when you have been discharged for at least 60 days. A new benefit period begins when you've been out of the hospital for more than 60 days.

Part A Deductibles

In 2024, the Medicare Part A deductible is $1,632 per benefit period.

That means that you must reach your deductible again for each new benefit period you experience, and there is no limit to the number of benefit periods you may go through in your lifetime.

Part A Coinsurance

If you have to stay in a hospital long term, you may also be responsible for Part A coinsurance costs. For the first 60 days of your stay, that cost is $0. However, from day 61-90, that cost is $408 per day in 2024.

For days 91 and beyond, the 2024 Medicare Part A coinsurance cost is $816 for every lifetime reserve day. After you’ve used up your lifetime reserve days, you are responsible for all costs.

Medigap Helps Cover Some Out-of-Pocket Costs

Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (also called Medigap) helps cover some of Medicare's out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. 

Each Medigap plan offers a different combinations of benefits, ranging from limited to comprehensive. 

In most states there are 10 standardized Medigap plans to choose from. All 10 standardized Medigap plans provide at least partial coverage for:

  • Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
  • Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments
  • First 3 pints of blood
  • Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayments

Refer to the chart below to see the basic benefits of all 10 plans.

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Medicare Supplement Benefits

Part A coinsurance and hospital coverage

Part B coinsurance or copayment

Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment

First 3 pints of blood

Skilled nursing facility coinsurance

Part A deductible

Part B deductible

Part B excess charges

Foreign travel emergency

Medicare Supplement Benefits A B C* D F1* G1 K2 L3 M N4
Part A coinsurance and hospital coverage
Part B coinsurance or copayment 50% 75%
Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment 50% 75%
First 3 pints of blood 50% 75%
Skilled nursing facility coinsurance 50% 75%
Part A deductible 50% 75% 50%
Part B deductible
Part B excess charges
Foreign travel emergency 80% 80% 80% 80% 80% 80%

* Plan F and Plan C are not available to Medicare beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If you became eligible for Medicare before 2020, you may still be able to enroll in Plan F or Plan C as long as they are available in your area.

Learn More

Speak with a licensed agent at 1-800-995-4219, or read through our other guides to learn more.

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