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Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is your inpatient hospital coverage. It ensures you have affordable inpatient care. 

Think of this as room and board in the hospital. It’ll cover a semi-private room that includes a bed for you, plus all regular meals while you’re there. Part A will also cover medications that the hospital gives you and any lab services or necessary medical supplies.  

You may receive your inpatient care at an urgent care hospital, a critical access hospital, an inpatient mental health hospital or at an inpatient rehab facility.

What Medicare Part A Covers

Besides Medicare hospitalization coverage, Part A also covers short-term post-hospital home health care and post-hospital skilled nursing care as long as it’s medically necessary.  

Medicare Part A covers hospice services that may include:

  • Counseling
  • DME
  • Palliative care
  • Social Services 

Furthermore, Part A will cover some home health care services you received in the hospital or immediately after your inpatient stay. These services include physical therapy, skilled nursing care, and medical social services.  

People often think outpatient surgeries would fall under Medicare Part A, but they sometimes fall under Part B. If you have questions about whether something is inpatient vs outpatient, consult our Medicare insurance brokers for guidance.  

Generally speaking, Part A covers hospital-related services for immediate or urgent care of an illness or injury.

What Part A Doesn’t Cover

Medicare doesn’t cover extended stays in a nursing home. If you wish to plan for long-term care, consider buying long-term care insurance.  

Cost of Medicare Part A

You may wonder if it’s really free. 

Well, not quite. Most beneficiaries won’t pay a dime for Part A at 65 because they’ve already pre-paid it. All of us pay taxes when we work, which are distinctly for our future Medicare hospital coverage in retirement. Later on, these taxes go to counterbalance the cost of Part A.  

So long as you’ve worked for a decade in your lifetime in the U.S., you’ll generally pay nothing for Part A. If you have a shorter work history, you can buy Part A — as long as you’ve been a legal resident or greencard holder for a minimum of 5 years.    

When to Enroll in Medicare Part A

Enrolling in Part A is automatic for those already taking Social Security income benefits. When this occurs, you’ll check your mailbox 2 to 3 months before your 65th birthday and find your red, white, and blue card waiting for you.

If you’re not yet receiving Social Security income benefits or Railroad Retirement income benefits, you’ll need to intently register for Part A at age 65. You can sign up at the Social Security website.

What About Medicare Cost-Sharing Under Part A?

While your Part A coverage will pay for a lot, you’ll have some cost-sharing, too, that’s your responsibility. Every year CMS dictates the Medicare Part A deductible and coinsurance that you’ll be liable for during the following year. You must pay these cost-sharing amounts when using your Medicare Part A benefits. For more details about what you’ll pay, contact Cornerstone Senior Advisors. 

For more information about Medicare, view our website or call (316) 260-3331.