Parts of Medicare basics - Part A

Published by Medicare Made Clear®

What is covered by Medicare Part A?

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 $505 per month.

Part A also includes a deductible and copayments related to stays in a hospital, skilled nursing facility and for hospice.

  • For 2024, the Part A deductible is $1,632.
  • For hospital stays:

    • Up to 60 days - Medicare Part A covers the cost.

    • Days 61-90 - $408 copayment per day.
    • Days 91 and beyond - $816 per day copayment up to 60 lifetime reserve days.
  • For skilled nursing facilities, you pay:

    • Days 21-100 - a $204.00 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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