What is Medicare Part A? | AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare®
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Medicare Part A Coverage

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What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It helps pay for medically necessary care you receive as an inpatient. Part A also helps pay for some home health care    and for hospice care.

You must be formally admitted by doctor's order to a hospital or a skilled nursing    facility to be considered an inpatient.

Part A benefits do not apply if you are in the hospital for observation. In this case, Part B may cover the care you receive.

Be sure to ask if you are an inpatient whenever you have to go to the hospital.

What's covered under Medicare Part A?


A semi-private room Lab tests, X-rays and radiation treatment as an inpatient
Your hospital meals Operating room and recovery room services
Skilled nursing care     Some blood transfusions in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility
Care on special units, such as intensive care Rehabilitation services such as physical therapy received through home health
Drugs, medical supplies and medical equipment as an inpatient Skilled health care in your home if you cannot leave your home and need only part-time care
Care to manage symptoms and control pain for the terminally ill (hospice care)    

What's not covered under Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A does not help with the cost of:

  • Most doctor services you receive in the hospital. Doctor services are covered under Part B.
  • Personal services such as a television or telephone in your room.
  • Custodial care such as help with eating, bathing or dressing.

What doctors or health professionals can you see?

You can see any qualified provider in the United States who accepts Medicare assignment    and who is accepting new patients. You can receive care in any state or region. Original Medicare Part A offers the same benefits throughout the United States.

What are the coverage limits with Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A helps pay for up to 90 days of hospital or skilled care during one benefit period   . Starting with day 91, you can begin to draw on your lifetime reserve days   . Lifetime reserve days are like a bank account of extra hospital days covered by Medicare. You have 60 extra covered days in your account that you can use over your entire life.

Part A helps pay for an unlimited number of skilled home care and hospice care visits. You must meet certain conditions to receive these services.

What is hospice care?

Hospice care helps make the last weeks or months of life as comfortable as possible.

A hospice team can include
health care professionals, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers.


Medicare pays the entire cost of hospice care. This includes the care providers, drugs to manage symptoms and pain, medical supplies and medical equipment.

Once hospice care begins, Medicare no longer covers treatments intended to cure. But hospice patients can return to Medicare’s curative care services at any time.

What do you want to do next ?


Or learn about Medicare Part A costs