What is Medicare Part A?
Medicare is a prized healthcare program for Americans. It’s certainly a relief to have options for healthcare coverage after retirement (at age 65+) or for circumstances of extreme medical conditions (like Lou Gehrig’s disease).
You’ll probably start learning about Medicare as you near age 65, get ready for retirement, or watch your spouse, sibling, friend or parent learn about it. The best way to learn about Medicare (and make sure you’re receiving the best plan for your unique situation) is to walk through each of its parts: A, B, C and D.
You can start with this guide on Medicare Part A.
What is Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A is one of four possible Medicare Plans. Part A is designated for hospital insurance.
What is covered under Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A provides coverage for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home health care. Doctor’s fees are not covered under Medicare Part A.
How can you get Medicare Part A?
When you apply for Medicare, you automatically become enrolled in Medicare Part A and will receive coverage for hospital care.
Besides automatic enrollment, there are three ways to get coverage for hospital care under Medicare Part A: through Original Medicare, provided through the government; through a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) offered through a private Medicare-approved insurance provider; or purchased separately (for certain American citizens that don’t qualify for Medicare).
Medicare Part A from Original Medicare
Original Medicare means both Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (outpatient medical insurance) plans bought from the government. Most doctors and hospitals accept Original Medicare across America.
Medicare Part A from a Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage Plans (or Medicare Part C) are offered through private, Medicare-approved insurers. Medicare Advantage Plans require both parts A and B to enroll.
Part A coverage under a Medicare Advantage Plan must be the same as it would under Original Medicare, but may have different rules.
Medicare Advantage Plans can also provide additional coverage, such as dental and vision. They also may have a limited network of health service providers.
Medicare Part A Purchased Separately
For U.S. citizens or permanent residents that have not worked long enough to qualify for Medicare, they may be able to purchase Part A coverage, but with a premium of up to $411 a month (in 2016).
How Much Does Medicare Part A Cost?
Costs for Medicare Part A under a Medicare Advantage plan will vary. If you get Medicare Part A coverage under Original Medicare (provided by the Federal government), refer to the below 2016 costs for your hospital services (via Medicare.gov).
- Premium: Most people don’t incur a monthly premium for Medicare Part A (because of payroll taxes you paid while employed).
- Deductible: Part A has a $1,288 deductible for each benefit period.
- Coinsurance: Medicare Part A coinsurance includes:
- Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period.
- Days 61-90: $322 coinsurance per day of each benefit period.
- Days 91 and beyond: $644 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime).
- Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs.
Visit the official Medicare website for information on Part A costs for: home health care, hospice care, hospital inpatient stay, mental health inpatient stay and skilled nursing facility stay.