Part A (Hospital Insurance)



Many people get confused with the difference between the Medicare parts. We’re here to make that a little simpler for you. Read below to learn about the first part of Medicare.

What Is Part A?

This part in Medicare is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care.

How Much Does Part A Cost?

Most people do not pay Part A because they paid Medicare taxes while working. This is called “premium-free Part A”

In most cases, if you choose to buy Part A, you must also have Part B and pay monthly premiums for both. If you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A and/or Part B.

How Do I Get Part A?

Some people automatically receive Part A, depending on certain conditions.

If you are not eligible for premium-free Part A, you may be able to buy it if you meet one of these conditions:

  • You’re 65 or older, you’re entitled to (or enrolling in) Part B, and you meet the citizenship or residency requirements.
  • You’re under 65, disabled, and your premium-free Part A ended because you returned to work. (If you’re under 65 and disabled, you can continue to get premium-free Part A for up to 8.5 years after you return to work.)

What Does Part A Cover?

In general, Part A covers:

  • Inpatient care in hospitals (such as critical access hospitals,inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals)
  • Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long term care)
  • Hospice care services
  • Home health care services
  • Inpatient care in a Religious Non-medical Health Care Institution

Note: Staying overnight in a hospital doesn’t always mean you’re an inpatient, therefore you may not be covered. You’re considered an inpatient the day a doctor formally admits you to a hospital with a doctor’s order. Being an inpatient or an outpatient affects your out-of-pocket costs. Always ask if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient. Read “Are You a Hospital Inpatient or Outpatient? If You Have Medicare – Ask!” for more information.

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