Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is a part of what we call “Original Medicare” and provides coverage for inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home healthcare services.

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What Medicare Part A covers

Part A covers: 

  • Inpatient hospital care — Care you receive after you’re admitted into a hospital. You’re covered for up to 90 days each benefit period and 60 lifetime reserve days. Part A also covers up to 190 lifetime days in an approved psychiatric hospital.
  • Skilled nursing facility care — Room, board, and certain services. You’re covered for up to 100 days each benefit period. To qualify for this coverage, you must have spent at least three consecutive days at the hospital within 30 days of admission to the nursing facility, and need their services.
  • Home health care — 100 days of daily care or an unlimited amount of intermittent care. To qualify, you had to have spent at least three consecutive days in the hospital within 14 days of receiving home health care. It is possible to get home health care through Part B if you don’t meet the requirements for Part A. 
  • Hospice care — If your healthcare provider determines you are terminally ill, this is the care you can receive that is covered under Part A. Your care is covered for as long as your provider says you need it. 

What does Medicare Part A cost?

As long as you have worked for at least ten years in the United States, taxes you paid while working went towards paying for your Part A coverage.

There is a deductible you must meet before coverage kicks in. In 2020, it is $1,408. 

Depending on how much care you receive during a benefit period, you may have some coinsurance costs.

Your coinsurance depends on the number of days spent in the hospital: 

  • 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

Some insurance plans called Medicare Supplements can take care of a percentage or even all of your coinsurance.

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Do I need to enroll in Part A?

You will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B the month you turn 65. If you do not receive Social Security benefits, then you will need to sign up for Medicare. You can do so online at, by calling them at 1-800-772-1213, or in person at your local Social Security Office.