The best place to start learning about Medicare is with the basics – with Parts A, B, C and D. The first in a four-blog series, this “Medicare Basics” blog will focus on Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part A is one part of what is known as Original Medicare, which is administered by the federal government and also includes Medicare Part B. Part A provides coverage for care received while you’re an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility, and is often known as Medicare hospital insurance.
What Medicare Part A covers
Medicare Part A provides coverage for a variety of hospital charges and services including skilled nursing services, your meals, lab tests and x-rays given as an inpatient, operating room and recovery room services and more.
List of health items and services covered by Part A:
- A semi-private room
- Hospital meals
- Skilled nursing services
- Care on special units, such as intensive care
- Drugs, medical supplies and medical equipment used during your inpatient stay
- Labs, tests and x-rays given as an inpatient
- Operating room and recovery room services
- Some blood transfusions given in a hospital or skilled nursing facility
- Rehabilitation services such as physical therapy received through home health care
- Skilled health care in your home – if you’re homebound and you need only part-time care
- Hospice care
Does Medicare Part A cost anything?
For most people, Medicare Part A is premium-free. This is true if you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. If you do have to pay a premium for Part A, it could cost as much as $506 per month.
Part A also includes a deductible and copayments related to stays in a hospital, skilled nursing facility and for hospice.
- For 2023, the Part A deductible is $1,600.
For hospital stays:
Up to 60 days - Medicare Part A covers the cost.
- Days 61-90 - $400 copayment per day.
- Days 91 and beyond - $800 per day copayment up to 60 lifetime reserve days.
For skilled nursing facilities, you pay:
- Days 21-100 - a $200.00 per day copayment.
Days 101 and beyond - you pay all costs.
For hospice care you may pay:
Up to $5 per prescription for medications for pain and symptom management.
20% of the cost of durable medical equipment used at home.
5% of the Medicare-approved amount for respite care.
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