What Is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A provides coverage for your inpatient hospital expenses to help you pay for the hospital care you need when you need it the most.

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn
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Part A covers various hospitals, including urgent care, critical access, inpatient mental health, and inpatient rehabilitation services. 

Typically, your Medicare Part A covers room and board for your hospital stay. In addition, you’ll have access to a semi-private room and coverage for all hospital meals. You also have coverage for any medications that the hospital gives you and any necessary medical supplies or lab services. 

What does Medicare Part A cover?

Part A relates to coverage for hospital-related services for immediate care of an injury or illness. In addition, Part A also covers some other services, including short-term home health care after you’ve left the hospital. It can also include post-hospital, at-home skilled nursing care if medically necessary for your ongoing care.

Part A also covers some other home health care services related to your hospital stay, usually immediately after leaving the hospital. These may include physical therapy and medical social services.

Other hospice services included in your cover are:

  • Palliative care

  • Counseling

  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME), for example, wheelchairs, oxygen equipment, crutches, or blood testing strips for people with diabetes.

Sometimes it can be challenging to determine the difference between Medicare Part A and B regarding hospital services. For example, many outpatient surgeries fall under Medicare Part B. For any questions about inpatient versus outpatient services, get in touch with one of our local Medicare agents in NC.

Medicare Part A does not provide coverage for extended stays in a nursing home. If you need to plan for your long-term care, you may wish to think about buying health insurance that covers long-term care. Our North Carolina health insurance agents can help.

How much does Medicare Part A cost?

If you or your spouse has worked for 10 years throughout your lifetime, you won’t have to pay anything for Medicare Part A premiums when you turn 65. You may also be eligible for free premiums if you have specific medical conditions or disabilities. 

If you or your spouse hasn’t worked for 10 years, you can still access Medicare Part A, but you will have to pay premiums. You’re eligible to buy Part A if you’ve been a legal resident of the US or a green card holder for at least five years. You’ll also need to enroll in Medicare Part B and pay the monthly premiums for this coverage. The monthly premium for 2022 for Part A can be up to $499 each month. Part B coverage depends on your income level and can vary. 

Enrolling in Medicare Part A

If you already receive social security income benefits, your enrollment is automatic at age 65. You’ll usually receive your Medicare Part A card a few months before your birthday. 

If you don’t receive income benefits or Railroad Retirement income benefits, you will need to enroll when you turn 65. You can sign up online on the social security website or by calling or visiting your local social security branch. Our Medicare agents in North Carolina can help if you need any assistance.

If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period starts three months before you turn 65. It also includes the month of your birthday and finishes three months after your birthday. It’s essential to be aware there are penalties for late enrollment

What About Medicare Part A Cost-Sharing?

Although your Medicare Part A coverage helps to pay for many services, there is some cost-sharing for services you’ll be required to pay. These costs are updated annually by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and outline the deductibles and coinsurance amounts you’re liable for throughout the year. Get in touch with our North Carolina Medicare agents today for more information about how much you can expect to pay for different services under Part A Medicare. 

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