What is Medicare Part A? A Simple Explanation

Medicare Part A information

Medicare is divided into “parts” – and it is important to understand how each part is different.

“Original” Medicare is divided up into Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Simply put, Medicare Part A covers hospital stays lasting more than two nights in length. Part B covers things like doctor visits and outpatient care services and products (our short video below gives an overview of Medicare, how it works, and the different parts).

Understanding Medicare from Medicare World on Vimeo.

Medicare Eligibility and Costs

People usually become Medicare eligible at age 65, unless they have a disability that qualifies them for early eligibility. Once eligible, people who paid taxes for at least 10 years are usually automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A.

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As an added bonus, they will also usually pay NO monthly premiums. In contrast, there ARE monthly premiums for Part B coverage.

However, there are some costs and conditions associated with Medicare Part A coverage; including a deductible for your hospital stay, and co-insurance for stays lasting over 60 days.

Medicare Part A Coverage

Generally, Medicare Part A will cover:

  • Hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care
  • Hospice
  • Home health services

Keep in mind that the services must be deemed medically necessary by your doctor and also by Medicare. Medicare does not usually pay for custodial services at this time. However, there are a few pilot programs which may lead to that offering in the future.

So be sure to talk to your doctor about why you need certain services or supplies, and make sure that everything will be covered by Medicare.

There are many more rules and conditions for services included in Medicare Part A, and these rules can change over time.

Be sure to review your policy regularly and thoroughly. The more complex your situation is, the more you should investigate your coverage options. Sometimes patients receive different information or advice about Medicare, even from Medicare “experts.” For example, the hospital representative may have a different take on the issue than a customer service agent from Medicare.

To avoid being hit by unexpected charges from a hospital stay, talk to your doctor and call 1-800-MEDICARE to be sure of your coverage. If you have any lingering doubts or questions, or want a second opinion about your rights, get help from an advocate, such as The Medicare Rights Center, to ensure you are fully informed on your options.

Related Links

Download the Medicare Quick Start Guide by Medicare World

Medicare Parts Explained

Medicare Education: Services NOT Covered by Medicare

Medicare Part A and B Won’t Cover These Services

What Does Medicare Cover?

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Medicare World Editorial Team
The Medicare World editorial team works diligently to make sure our stories are informative, unbiased, and of utmost relevance to our readers. Our team of researchers and writers presents the best and latest information on all things Medicare, including legislation, enrollment rules, changes in coverage and costs, and health information. We enjoy keeping our readers up-to-date and helping them navigate the often-complicated Medicare maze.

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