Medicare Part A Explained

Medicare Part A protects you from the costs of hospital stays.

Medicare Part A covers hospital services including inpatient treatment, including care received at acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care hospitals.  The longest stay or series of stays is typically 90 days.  Medicare pays the cost for the first 60 days in full, except for one copay.  Longer stays require additional copays per day.

Part A also covers care in a skilled nursing facility for up to 100 days.

If you need rehabilitation or recover from an injury or illness in a skilled nursing facility, Part A will pay the full cost of your first 20 days if certain requirements are met.  Longer stays require an additional copay.  Institutional care in a hospital or nursing home, and home health services like intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, and continued occupational services are also covered by Part A.  If you qualify for hospice care in the case of terminal illness and related conditions, Part A will cover for the required planning and services.

Sign up for Part A as soon as you’re eligible or you may have to pay a penalty.

If you don’t enroll in premium-free Part A when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a Part A Late Enrolment Penalty.  However if you did delay getting Part A, but meet special conditions you may be able to sign up during a Special Enrolment Period and avoid the penalty. If you have questions or want to sign up for Part A, contact your local Social Security Office or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and let them know. TTY users should call 1‑800‑325‑0778.