Medicare Part A Is Your Hospital Insurance

An easy way to think of Part A is your room and board in the hospital. Generally speaking, Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, nursing home care (that’s not custodial or long-term care), and hospice and home health care.

About Inpatient Care

You can get your inpatient care at the following:

  • An acute care hospital
  • A critical access hospital
  • An inpatient mental healthcare hospital
  • An inpatient rehabilitation facility

Receive Your Consultation!

Your Costs for Inpatient Hospital Care

You pay a $1,484 deductible for every benefit period. 

A benefit period is how Medicare tracks your use of hospital and SNF services — beginning the day you’re admitted and ending when you haven’t received any inpatient or SNF care for 60 consecutive days.

You also pay:

  • Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for every benefit period.
  • Days 61-90: $371 coinsurance/day of every benefit period
  • Days 91 and beyond: $742 coinsurance per every “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 — for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime).
  • Beyond lifetime reserve days: You’re responsible for all costs.

What Are Lifetime Reserve Days?

Unless you have a Medicare Supplement plan, Part A offers you 60 lifetime reserve days. You start using these days if you have a hospital stay that lasts more than 90 days in a row. So, if you have a hospital stay that lasts 95 consecutive days, you’ll have used 5 of your lifetime reserve days. 

How Much Does Part A Cost?

If you’ve worked for at least 10 years in the U.S., you’ll typically pay $0 for Medicare Part A at age 65. This is because we all pay taxes that are designed for our future Medicare hospital coverage during our retirement years. The taxes go to negate the cost of Part A down the road.

If you haven’t worked here for 10 years, you can still get Part A — assuming you’ve been a legal resident for a minimum of 5 years.

Enrolling in Medicare Part A

If you’re receiving Social Security income benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Part A, and your red, white, and blue Medicare card will arrive 2-3 months before you turn 65!

If you’re not getting Social Security benefits, you must enroll in Part A through Social Security. You’ll want to do this during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is a seven-month window surrounding the months of your 65th birthday.

Do You Only Need Part A?

Sometimes healthy people wonder if they might only need Medicare Part A. If you don’t use a lot of medical services yet, it makes sense that you would wonder if Part A is enough.

However, many things happen in a hospital that falls under Medicare Part B: mental health care services, screenings, tests, flu shots, etc. So, we suggest enrolling in both A and B — unless you have other coverage that coordinates with Medicare.

For all your Medicare questions, continue browsing our site or call the number on your screen.