Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient hospital care and hospice expenses.


Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient hospital care and hospice expenses, but not doctor's fees. (Those are covered with Medicare Part B.) Medicare Part A and Part B together are commonly referred to as Original Medicare, and are provided by the federal government. placeholder_image

Most people are eligible to sign up for Medicare Part A during a seven-month window surrounding your 65th birthday—the three months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the three months after your 65th birthday.

Medicare Part A covers:
  • Semi-private hospital rooms
  • Hospital meals
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Medication and medical supplies in-hospital
  • Intensive care
  • Lab tests, x-rays in hospital
  • Blood and transfusions
  • Operating and recovery room services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Some hospice & home health care. (You must meet certain conditions to get these benefits. For home health services, Medicare covers part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, but it must be deemed “medically necessary” and approved by a doctor.)
Medicare Part A doesn't cover:
  • Custodial care
  • Long-term care/ Nursing home care
  • At-home hospice care
  • Cosmetic surgery
Medicare Part A Costs:
The 2016 monthly premium is $0, if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working 2016. The yearly deductible is $1,288. Once your deductible is met, days 1-60 of hospitalization are covered 100%. After 60 days, you must pay an amount set by Medicare, and there is no maximum amount for out-of-pocket expenses. Only a Medicare Supplement Plan will cover your hospital costs if you are hospitalized for more than 60 days.

How to Sign Up:
If you already receive Social Security benefits, you will be enrolled automatically for Original Medicare just before your 65th birthday. The government will mail you an “Initial Enrollment Package” with all the details about three months before your 65th birthday.

If you have delayed your Social Security benefits, enroll in one of the following ways:

  • Call Social Security at (800) 772-1213.
  • Make an appointment at your local Social Security office.
  • Enroll online at the Social Security administration website: ssa.gov/medicare/apply.html
Note that if you don't sign up for Medicare Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period, your monthly premium may go up 10% when you do enroll. You’ll have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you are past 65. In other words, if you didn’t sign up for two years, you’ll pay the higher premium for four years. Other penalties also may apply for both Parts A and B.

Continue to Medicare Part B


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