“Medicare Part A is also called Medicare Hospital Insurance. It covers inpatient medical care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility and provides benefits for hospice care and some types of home health care.”
When approaching age 65, you must enroll in Medicare. You will have a limited amount of time to register to avoid a gap in coverage and a late enrollment penalty. There are many Medicare packages on the market. As you consider which Medicare plan to buy, this posting will help you in understanding Medicare hospital coverage (Part A).
What Medicare Part A Is
Medicare Part A is also called Medicare Hospital Insurance. It covers inpatient medical care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility and provides benefits for hospice care and some home health care.
What Medicare Part A Covers
Medicare Part A can help pay your hospital bill, lab work, doctor visits, and surgeries, if they consider the treatments medically necessary to treat a disease or condition. You can also get wheelchairs, walkers, and other supplies through Medicare Part A.
Important Things to Know About Medicare Part A
Always check the rules of the Medicare plan you choose, because they can each have different criteria. Every Medicare plan must provide at least as many benefits as “original” Medicare does.
Medicare will not pay your nursing home bill, if all you need is custodial care. Part A requires that you need treatment in a skilled nursing facility.
How Much Medicare Part A Costs
Most people need not pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A, because either they or their spouse worked enough years at jobs that paid into the Medicare system. You pay into the system through the Medicare taxes that your employer deducts from your paycheck. Medicare Part A you need not pay for, is called “premium-free Part A.”
Your premium-free Part A will start when you are 65, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Sometimes, you can get premium-free Part A at an earlier age.
If you do not qualify for premium-free Part A, you must pay a premium that can be as high as $413 a month. The payments can change once a year, so in 2018, they may be higher.
Medicare bases your premium on how many quarters (three month periods) you paid Medicare taxes out of your paycheck withholdings. If you paid Medicare taxes for 40 quarters (10 years) or more, you can qualify for premium-free Part A. If you paid between 30 and 39 quarters, you will pay a premium of $227 a month for standard Part A. If you paid into the system for less than 30 quarters (less than seven and a half years), you must pay $413 a month.
Most people also have to sign up for Medicare Part B (medical insurance for doctor visits, preventive care, supplies and outpatient care). If you must pay for Part A, you will probably also have to pay a premium for Part B. When you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will tell you if you get Medicare for free, and premium you must pay, if you do not qualify for premium-free Medicare.
This posting discusses the general law. Every state has different laws, so talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Getting started with Medicare.” (accessed October 19, 2017) https://www.medicare.gov/people-like-me/new-to-medicare/getting-started-with-medicare.html
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “What Part A covers.” (accessed October 19, 2017) https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/part-a/what-part-a-covers.html
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Part A costs.” (accessed October 19, 2017) https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-a-costs/part-a-costs.html