Cost of Medicare Part A | AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare®
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Medicare Part A Costs

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What is the cost of Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A pays most of the cost for hospital stays lasting up to 60 days. But if you have a very long stay, you may pay a large share of the cost. You will pay a deductible for each benefit period    and a daily co-payment after day 60 of each benefit period in the hospital. If you are in the hospital longer than 90 days in a benefit period, you may pay even more.

Part A is premium free if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. There are no limits on your out-of-pocket spending with Part A. Your expenses could be substantial if you have a chronic condition or serious illness.

 

2017 Part A Costs At a Glance

Premium   

  • $0 for most people
  • Up to $413 per month, if applicable

Deductible   

  • $1,316 per benefit period

Co-payment   

  • $0 per day for inpatient hospital days 1-60 of each benefit period
  • $329 per day for inpatient hospital days 61-90 of each benefit period
  • $658 per day for lifetime reserve day    91 and beyond of each benefit period (up to a maximum of 60 days over your lifetime)
  • $0 per day for skilled nursing facility days 1-20 of each benefit period
  • Up to $164.50 per day for skilled nursing facility days 21-100 of each benefit period
  • All costs for skilled nursing facility days 101 and beyond of each benefit period
  • Up to $5 per prescription for medications for pain and symptom management during hospice care

Co-insurance   

  • 20% of the cost for durable medical equipment used at home, such as a walker or wheelchair
  • 5% of the Medicare-approved amount    for short-term hospice care given by another caregiver, so the usual caregiver can rest

How does this work?

A benefit period begins when you enter the hospital and ends when you have been out of the hospital for 60 days in a row. If you're in and out of the hospital several times within a few weeks for the same condition, that’s still one benefit period.

If your hospital stay lasts longer than 60 days in a benefit period, then you may pay a substantial co-payment for each day between days 60 and 150.

Medicare Part A limits coverage for hospital stays longer than 90 days in a benefit period. When you enroll in Part A, you get a "lifetime reserve" of 60 days. Each time you stay in a hospital more than 90 days in a benefit period, you can use lifetime reserve days to cover the additional days.

Once you've used up your lifetime reserve, Part A will help pay only for the first 90 days per benefit period of any hospital stay. And that's subject to the normal deductibles and co-pays. After 90 days, you're responsible for paying for your own care. Medicare Part A also limits the number of days in a psychiatric hospital it will pay for during your lifetime.

Here are some examples of how Part A cost sharing might work.

STORY SUMMARIES

Julie's story: A short hospital stay

Hector's story: Two hospital admissions, one benefit period

Margaret's story: Two hospital admissions, two benefit periods

Juan's story: A long hospital stay

Julie

 

Julie spends three days in the hospital.

 

  • Medicare Part A deductible           $1,316
  • Days 1 to 3$0
  • Total Julie pays $1,316*

*Costs shown are for illustration only. Your costs may be different. Only hospital charges are shown. Additional costs may include services such as doctors, lab tests and X-rays.

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Hector

 

Hector stayed in the hospital 5 days in December. He was readmitted in early February and stayed for 3 days. He wasn't out of the hospital for 60 days before he went back, so his 8 days are all in a single benefit period. He pays his deductible only once.

 

  • Medicare Part A deductible $1,316
  • Days 1 - 5 (first stay)$0
  • Days 6 - 8 (second stay)$0
  • Total Hector pays $1,316*

*Costs shown are for illustration only. Your costs may be different. Only hospital charges are shown. Additional costs may include services such as doctors, lab tests and X-rays.

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Margaret

 

Margaret stayed in the hospital 5 days in January. She was readmitted in September and stayed for 65 days. Because she was out of the hospital more than 60 days, her second stay began a new benefit period.

 

  • Medicare Part A deductible 1
    (January) $1,316
  • Days 1 to 5$0
  • Medicare Part A deductible 2
    (September)$1,316
  • Days 1 to 60$0
  • Days 61 to 65
    (5 days at $329 each)$1,645

Total Margaret pays $4,277*

*Costs shown are for illustration only. Your costs may be different. Only hospital charges are shown. Additional costs may include services such as doctors, lab tests and X-rays.

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Juan

 

Juan stayed in the hospital 185 days before his doctors felt they could release him. Medicare Part A stopped helping pay the cost after day 150. He has no Part A coverage left for this benefit period. Juan used up all of his lifetime reserve days, too. The hospital's charges for days 151 to 185 were $1,200 per day.

 

  • Medicare Part A deductible $1,316
  • Co-pay for days 1-60$0
  • Co-pay for days 61-90
    (30 days at $329 each)$9,870
  • Co-pay for days 91-150
    (60 days at $658 each)$39,480
  • Payment for days 151-185
    (35 days at $1,200 each)$42,000

Total Juan pays $91,666*

*Costs shown are for illustration only. Your costs may be different. Only hospital charges are shown. Additional costs may include services such as doctors, lab tests and X-rays.

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Page last updated: 12.15.2016 at 12:01 AM CT | Y0066_161028_162405 Accepted