What is Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A is the hospital portion of Original Medicare coverage and is premium-free for most people.
Who qualifies for Medicare Part A?
Most people are eligible for premium-free Part A if they, or their spouse, worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and paid Medicare taxes.
Also, if someone was on Social Security Disability for more than two years, they may not have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A and will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A.
People who are not eligible for premium-free Part A may be able to buy Part A with a monthly premium.
What does Medicare Part A cover?
Medicare Part A covers:
- Inpatient care
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Hospice care
- Home health care
What does Medicare Part A NOT cover?
Medicare Part A does not cover:
- Prescription Drugs
- Outpatient Care
- Long Term Care
- Medicare Supplement Premiums
When is someone eligible for Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A eligibility is based off a few factors. You are eligible to enroll in Part A when you are:
- Age 65 years old or older
- Under 65 and have been on Social Security Disability for more than 2 Years
- Under 65 and have end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant)
When does someone enroll in Medicare Part A?
People are able to enroll in Original Medicare Part A during their initial enrollment period (IEP) or Medicare during the general enrollment period (GEP).
Your IEP begins the 3 months prior to your turning 65 month, the month you turn 65, and the 3 months after your turn 65.
The GEP is between January 1 and March 31, each year.
How does someone enroll in Medicare Part A?
You can enroll in Medicare Part A coverage online, by phone, or by mail. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A when you turn 65. After you are enrolled, you will receive your Medicare Card by mail.
Failing to enroll into Part A when you are first eligible for Medicare may result in a late enrollment penalty.
Most people sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B at the same time. Read more about Part B and how to enroll in Part B.
What are the Medicare Part A costs?
Most people, or their spouses, do not have to pay a premium for Part A because they worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. However, there are some costs associated with Part A, including:
- Part A deductible of $1,556 in 2023
- Part A coinsurance of 20% for most covered services
- Part A daily hospital inpatient stay copayment of $195 in 2023
If you do have to buy Part A, you will pay the Part A Premium when you sign up for Medicare.
Here are some additional details about Medicare Part A:
- You can get Part A even if you have other health insurance.
- You can use Part A benefits in any state.
- You can use Part A benefits at any hospital or skilled nursing facility that accepts Medicare.
- You can get Part A benefits even if you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- You should not get Part A if you are still contributing to an HSA (Health Savings Account).
Want to read more about the different parts of Medicare?
Find out when you must enroll in Medicare here.
Read our article about Medicare Part B, enrollment in Part B, what Part B covers, Medicare Part B costs, and how to sign up for Part B coverage.
Check out our article about Medicare Part C, how to enroll in Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans, and alternatives to original Medicare.
Should you purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance with Medicare Parts A and B or rely only on the Original Medicare Program? Read our article here.
Have questions about Prescription Drug Coverage? Read about what is covered by Medicare and what is not covered here.