There are four parts of Medicare. In general:
- Part A = inpatient hospital coverage
- Part B = outpatient medical coverage
- Part C = an alternative benefit form to Original Medicare that offers extra benefits
- Part D = prescription drug coverage
Today, we will be looking further into Medicare Part A.
What does Medicare Part A cover?
- Inpatient care in a hospital: This includes all care you receive after being admitted into a hospital by a physician. Medicare covers up to 90 days each benefit period in a general hospital. Additionally, you receive 60 lifetime reserve days. It also covers up to 190 lifetime days in a Medicare-certified psychiatric hospital.
- Skilled nursing facility care: Medicare covers your room, board, and certain services provided in a skilled nursing facility. This includes medications, tube feedings, and wound care. It covers up to 100 days each benefit period. In order to qualify, you must have spent at least three consecutive days in the hospital within 30 days of admission to a skilled nursing facility and must have needed skilled nursing or therapy services.
- Hospice care: Hospice care is covered for as long as your provider certifies it’s necessary.
- Home health care: A service normally covered by Part B, Part A coverage will kick in if you’ve spent at least three consecutive days as a hospital inpatient within 14 days of receiving home care. Up to 100 days of daily care are covered or an unlimited amount of intermittent care.
Who is eligible for Medicare Part A?
At age 65, you are eligible for Medicare Part A coverage at no cost as long as you or your spouse has worked for at least 10 years in the United States. Additionally, during those years, you paid taxes toward your Part A hospital benefits. Because it covers hospital stays, most people pay this.
If you haven’t worked for 10 years, you can still purchase Part A coverage.
How do I enroll for Medicare Part A?
As long as you have already enrolled in Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A. If not, you will have to contact the Social Security office to enroll.
Your Medicare card will arrive around one month before you turn 65.
When do I enroll for Medicare Part A?
If you turn 65 and are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), enrollment in Medicare Part A is usually automatic. Medicare Part A benefits begin the first day of the month you turn 65. Your red, white, and blue Medicare card will arrive about three months before your 65th birthday.
If you do not qualify for Social Security retirement benefits or benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) then you must manually enroll in Medicare Part A during your Initial Enrollment Period(IEP).
The IEP is a seven-month period that begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months later. Be careful not to wait until the last minute to enroll. If you do not enroll during your seven-month IEP, you will be required to wait until the next general enrollment period (January 1 to March 31) to enroll.
How much does Medicare Part A cost?
According to the Medicare.gov website.
|2020 costs at a glance|
|Part A premium||Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A (sometimes called “premium-free Part A”). If you buy Part A, you’ll pay up to $458 each month in 2020. If you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $458. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $252.|
|Part A hospital inpatient deductible and coinsurance||You pay:
$1,408 deductible for each benefit period
Days 1-60: $0 coinsurance for each benefit period
Days 61-90: $352 coinsurance per day of each benefit period
Days 91 and beyond: $704 coinsurance per each “lifetime reserve day” after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
Beyond lifetime reserve days: all costs