The best place to start learning about Medicare is with the basics – with Parts A, B, C and D. The first in a four-blog series, this “Medicare Basics” blog will focus on Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part A is one part of what is known as Original Medicare, which is administered by the federal government and also includes Medicare Part B. Part A provides coverage for care received while you’re an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility, and is often known as Medicare hospital insurance.
What Medicare Part A Covers
Medicare Part A provides coverage for a variety of hospital charges and services including skilled nursing services, your meals, lab tests and x-rays given as an inpatient, operating room and recovery room services and more.
List of health items and services covered by Part A:
A semi-private room
Skilled nursing services
Care on special units, such as intensive care
Drugs, medical supplies and medical equipment used during your inpatient stay
Labs, tests and x-rays given as an inpatient
Operating room and recovery room services
Some blood transfusions given in a hospital or skilled nursing facility
Rehabilitation services such as physical therapy received through home health care
Skilled health care in your home – if you’re homebound and you need only part-time care
Does Medicare Part A Cost Anything?
For most people, Medicare Part A is premium-free. This is true if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you do have to pay a premium for Part A, it could cost as much as $471 per month.
Part A also includes a deductible and copayments related to stays in a hospital, skilled nursing facility and for hospice.
For 2021, the Part A deductible is $1,484.
For hospital stays:
Up to 60 days - Medicare Part A covers the cost.
Days 61-90 - $371 copayment per day.
Days 91 and beyond - $742 per day copayment up to 60 lifetime reserve days.
For skilled nursing facilities, you pay:
Days 21-100 - a $185.50 per day copayment.
Days 101 and beyond - you pay all costs.
For hospice care you may pay:
Up to $5 per prescription for medications for pain and symptom management.
20% of the cost of durable medical equipment used at home.
5% of the Medicare-approved amount for respite care.
Continue Learning About Medicare
Find the information you need on the basics of Medicare, plan types, how to enroll and FAQs.