Parts of Medicare Basics - Part A

Published by: Medicare Made Clear

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
  • Hospital meals
  • 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
  • Hospice 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.

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Medicare Made Clear


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