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Medicare Part A

Health care worker examining senior patient during a home visit.

Once you are eligible for Medicare, you can enjoy the benefits of Medicare Part A. This insurance covers the cost of inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (not long-term care). There is usually no monthly cost for Medicare Part A, as you paid to gain this insurance during your working years. If you did not pay Medicare taxes during working years, you can purchase Part A coverage.

Medicare Part A – How Does it Work?

When they reach the end of their years of employment, most people are eligible for Medicare. Medicare Part A is a critical part of this government health insurance plan and covers the following:

  • Inpatient care: If you are admitted to a hospital, Medicare Part A covers the cost for 90 days. You must meet your deductible before the benefits in coinsurance and copays can begin.
  • Skilled nursing facility care: Under Medicare Part A, you are covered for the costs of room, board, and many other services provided at a skilled nursing facility. To qualify, under Medicare rules, you must have spent three days consecutively in a hospital with a health condition that requires skilled nursing care. In addition, the coverage is limited to 100 days per benefit period.
  • Home health care: If you have a health condition that leaves you homebound, Medicare Part A covers the cost of in-home care for up to 100 days. To be eligible for these services, you must have spent at least three days in a hospital within 14 days needing in-home healthcare services.
  • Hospice care: For terminally ill people, Medicare Part A covers the cost of hospice care but requires a medical professional to certify the need for this type of care.

Medicare Part A and Added Costs

Medicare Part A does not cover the entire cost of your care, and you will need to cover some of it out-of-pocket, such as the deductible (which varies, plan to plan), coinsurance, and copayments for all eligible Medicare services.

*Disclaimer: This page has not been reviewed or endorsed by or any member of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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