Medicare Part A (Inpatient Care)
Part A covers hospital stays, including your room, food, bedding and tests, as well as skilled nursing care, hospice care and home health services.
- Inpatient care in hospitals
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Hospice care
- Home health care
Since most people pay Medicare taxes while they’re working, they won’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A. However, those who didn't pay Medicare taxes can enroll, but will pay up to a $413 monthly premium in 2017.
Medicare Part A Details
Inpatient Care in Hospitals
For up to 90 days, including bed, meals and nursing services. Coverage starts when you’re admitted and ends when you have either been out of the hospital for 60 days or haven't received medical care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Your hospital inpatient care costs under Medicare Part A:
- You pay a deductible and no coinsurance for days 1 - 60 of each benefit period
- You pay a coinsurance for days 61-90 of each benefit period
- You pay a coinsurance per "lifetime reserve day" after day 90 of each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime)
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
A treatment period starts on the first day of treatment and ends when you have spent 60 consecutive days outside the facility or if you remain but do not receive Medicare-coverable care for 60 consecutive days.
Your skilled nursing costs under Medicare Part A:
- $0 for the first 20 days of each benefit period
- A coinsurance per day for days 21-100 of each benefit period
- All costs for each day after day 100 of each benefit period
Medicare Part A Enrollment Information
You can enroll in Medicare Part A (and Part B) during a 7-month period that aligns with your 65th birthday. You can begin enrolling 3 months before your birthday, the month of your birthday and three months after your birthday.
If you don't enroll within your initial enrollment period, you can sign up during the general enrollment period between January 1 and March 31 each year. If you sign up during the general enrollment period, your coverage will begin that same year on July 1. Those with qualifying disabilities can enroll three months before until three months after their 25th consecutive month of disability.
If you aren't eligible for premium-free Part A and you don't buy it when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty. If you are unsure if you have Medicare Part A and/or Part B, or have eligibility questions due to disability, please see Medicare.gov for more information.