Medicare Part A

4 things to know about Medicare Part A:

  1. It is hospital insurance that covers inpatient hospital care and certain home care services.
  2. It is usually free if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.
  3. You must have Part A to enroll in Medicare Parts B, C, or D.
  4. Part A hospital and skilled nursing facility coverage come with deductibles and co-insurance.

Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance coverage. It is one-half of Original Medicare, which consists of Parts A and B.

Part A is free for most people, and you may be automatically enrolled when you turn 65.

Benefits

Part A is considered hospital insurance. It covers a wide variety of services, including the following:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Hospice care
  • At-home part-time skilled nursing care
  • Inpatient care at a religious non-medical health care facility
  • Blood transfusions after the first 3 pints of blood

The full list of covered benefits can be found on the Medicare.gov website.

Costs

Medicare Part A costs come in the forms of premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance.

Medicare Part A premium

Most people do not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A coverage, according to Medicare.gov. The Part A premium will be free if any of the following applies to you:

  • You already get Social Security benefits or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).
  • You are eligible for benefits through Social Security or the RRB but have not filed for them.
  • You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.

If you do have to pay the Part A premium, it can be up to $407 each month.

Medicare Part A deductibles and co-insurance

You may need to pay deductibles or co-payments to get certain Part A services covered.

Hospital stay deductibles and co-payment (2015):

  • $1,260 deductible per benefit period
  • First 60 days: No co-payment
  • Days 61-90: $315 co-payment per day
  • Days 90+: $630 co-payment per "lifetime reserve day"
  • Days 90+ if you have no reserve days: Medicare covers nothing

Skilled nursing facility stay deductibles and co-payments:

  • First 20 days: No co-payments
  • Days 21-100: $157.50 co-payments per day
  • Days 100+: Medicare covers nothing