Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)

What Is Part A (Hospital Insurance)?

Part A is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care.

How Much Does Part A Cost?

Most people don’t pay a Part A premium because they paid Medicare taxes while working. This is called “premium-free Part A.”

If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, you may be able to buy Part A if you meet one of these conditions:

  • You’re 65 or older, you’re entitled to (or enrolling in) Part B, and you meet the citizenship or residency requirements.
  • You’re under 65, disabled, and your premium-free Part A coverage ended because you returned to work. (If you’re under 65 and disabled, you can continue to get premium-free Part A for up to 8.5 years after you return to work.)

In most cases, if you choose to buy Part A, you must also have Part B and pay monthly premiums for both. If you have limited income and resources, your state may help you pay for Part A and/or Part B.

How Do I Get Part A?

Some people automatically get Part A.  Learn how and when you can sign up for Part A.

What Does Part A Cover?

To find out if Part A covers something specific, visit Your Medicare Coverage. In general, Part A covers:

  • Inpatient care in hospitals (such as critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals)
  • Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long term care)
  • Hospice care services
  • Home health care services
  • Inpatient care in a Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institution

Note: Staying overnight in a hospital doesn’t always mean you’re an inpatient. You’re considered an inpatient the day a doctor formally admits you to a hospital with a doctor’s order. Being an inpatient or an outpatient affects your out-of-pocket costs. Always ask if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient. Read “Are You a Hospital Inpatient or Outpatient? If You Have Medicare – Ask!” for more information.

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