Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It helps to cover the costs of inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care. Most people do not pay a Part A Premium because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. If you are not eligible to receive Part A free of charge, you may be able to buy it.
Gaps in Parts A
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Some notable gaps in Part A that are not covered by Medicare include:
Inpatient Hospital Stay
$1,260 deductible for each benefit period.
Days 1–60: Covered in full.
Days 61–90: $315 coinsurance per day of each benefit period.
Days 91 and beyond: $630 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.
Skilled Nursing Facility Stay
Days 1–20: Covered in full.
Days 21–100: $157.50 coinsurance per day of each benefit period.
Days 101 and beyond: all costs.
Many people purchase supplemental policies that help to cover the gaps in Medicare coverage. These policies are often referred to as Medigap policies. Medigap policies vary in what they will cover in how much coverage they provide. Be sure to carefully review what a policy provides before purchasing one. Medicare.gov provides a tool to help consumers find a Medigap plan in their area.
Enrollment in Part A
People who collect Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits will usually get Medicare Part A and Part B automatically. If someone is 65 and is not yet getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, he will need to contact Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board to sign up.