4 things to know about Medicare Part A:
- Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that covers inpatient hospital care and certain home care.
- Medicare Part A is usually free if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. If not, it can cost up to $413 each month in 2017.
- Hospital and skilled nursing facility stays come with deductibles and co-insurance.
- If you want Medicare Parts B, C, or D, you must have Part A.
Medicare Part A provides inpatient hospital insurance coverage. It is one-half of Original Medicare, which consists of parts A & B. You may be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when you turn 65.
What does Medicare Part A cover?
Part A is considered hospital insurance and covers services from in-home care to inpatient hospital care. Medicare Part A helps cover the following health insurance benefits:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Hospice care
- At-home part-time skilled nursing care
- At-home physical therapy
- Inpatient care at a religious non-medical health care facility
- Blood transfusions after the first 3 pints of blood
The list above is only part of the covered items provided by Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part A costs
Medicare Part A costs come in the forms of premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance.
Most people don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A.1 If you do have to pay for Part A, it can cost up to $413 each month in 2017.
Part A will be free for you when you turn 65 if any of the following apply to you:
- You already get Social Security benefits or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
- You’re eligible for benefits through Social Security or the RRB but haven’t yet filed for them
- You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment
Deductibles and co-insurance
When you have Medicare Part A, you may need to pay deductibles or co-insurance to get certain services covered.
Hospital stay: deductibles and co-insurance
- $1,316 deductible per benefit period in 2017
- First 60 days: No co-insurance
- Days 61-90: $329 (2017) co-insurance per day
- Days 90+: $658 (2017) co-insurance per “lifetime reserve day”
- Days 90+ if you have no reserve days: Medicare covers nothing
Skilled nursing facility stay: deductibles and co-insurance
- First 20 days: No co-insurance
- Days 21-100: $164.50 co-insurance per day in 2017
- Days 100+: Medicare covers nothing
If you don’t want to have to pay for deductibles or co-insurance, Medicare Supplement insurance (also called Medigap) can help you fill in the coverage gaps.