Does Medicare Part A Cost Anything?

Published by: Medicare Made Clear

Medicare Part A costs will vary person-to-person, but for most people, Medicare Part A is premium-free. It still has a deductible, which you pay per benefit period, and it also requires copays for covered services in the hospital, a skilled nursing facility or for hospice.


The costs for Medicare Part A can change each year. Below are the Part A costs as of January 1, 2021, and if you want to also learn more about Part B costs for 2021, read this article.



Will You Pay the Medicare Part A Premium?


Most people don’t pay the Medicare Part A premium. You do not pay for Part A if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you or your spouse did not, then you will have a Part A premium to pay each month. As of 2021, the Part A premium can cost up to $471 per month.



Medicare Part A 2021 Deductible and Copays


Medicare Part A has a deductible that is charged per benefit period. For 2021, this deductible amount is $1,484.


  • A benefit period starts on the day when you enter a hospital or skilled nursing facility for care and ends when you have been out for 60 consecutive days. During this time, you may be in the hospital more than once.
  • There is no limit to how many benefit periods you can have. Medicare will cover all of them.
  • Each benefit period charges the $1,484 Part A deductible.


Medicare Part A also has copays for when you’re in the hospital, in a skilled nursing facility or in hospice. The copays and rules work differently for each.



Hospital Copays for Medicare Part A


Hospital copays are determined by the number of days you’re in the hospital, and when you exceed 90 days, you begin to use your lifetime reserve days. These are a set number of covered hospital days you can use if you’re in the hospital for more than 90 days in a single benefit period. You have 60 lifetime reserve days, and once you use them, they’re gone.

Number of Days in Hospital Part A Copay

Days 1-60


Days 61-90

$371 per day

Days 91 and beyond

$742 per day up to 60 lifetime reserve days

Medicare Part A Copays for a Skilled Nursing Facility


For a skilled nursing facility, Medicare Part A charges copays per benefit period – similar to the Part A deductible—and by the number of days you spend in the facility receiving care. Below is a breakdown of the 2021 copay amounts for skilled nursing facility care.

Number of Days in Skilled Nursing Facility Part A Copay

Days 1-20


Days 21-100

$185.50 per day

Days 101 and beyond

You pay all costs

Hospice Copays for Medicare Part A


For hospice care, Part A copays exist for medications for pain and symptom management, durable medical equipment used in the home and for respite care. The costs for each for 2021 are below:

Hospice Service or Item Part A Copay

Medications for pain and symptom management

Up to $5 per prescription

Durable medical equipment used at home

20% of the cost

Respite care

5% of the Medicare-approved amount

In conclusion, your Medicare Part A total costs will vary based on your work and tax history and your overall health care needs throughout the year.

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Understand Medicare Cost Basics


Learn more about Medicare premiums, copayments, coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits and more.

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About the Author

Medicare Made Clear


Providing simple information and clear answers about Medicare insurance plans and choices for current and future beneficiaries, retirees, caregivers and health care providers.

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Medicare Made Clear


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