Medicare Part A

Understand the basics of Medicare’s standard hospital coverage.

  • Part A covers hospital stays, as well as follow-up care provided in a skilled nursing facility, but generally doesn’t cover long term care.
  • In most cases, Part A requires no premiums, but it does involve deductibles and copayments.
  • To control costs, make sure your loved one receives care from a provider that participates in Medicare.

Next Step

Learn About Medicare Part B
Part B medical coverage includes including some preventive services.

Learn more

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance that helps cover inpatient costs in hospitals and nursing facilities. It also helps cover hospice care and some home healthcare.

Enrollment is automatic at age 65 for people who receive Social Security payments--a Medicare card will be mailed to your loved one. If your loved one is not receiving Social Security payments, he or she will need to apply for Part A.

Does Part A coverage cost anything?

Most people who paid Medicare taxes while they were working don’t have to pay a monthly premium for Part A. However, a deductible must be reached before coverage applies for each benefit period. In 2008, this amount is $1,024.

Benefits are determined on the basis of benefit periods, which start when your loved one enters a hospital and ends when he or she has not received any skilled care in a nursing facility or hospital for 60 days in a row. After your loved one has paid the deductible, Medicare pays for all covered costs for the first 60 days. For detailed information about subsequent coverage, visit the Medicare website.

Are facilities other than hospitals covered?

If your loved one needs to stay in a nursing facility after a hospital stay of at least three days, Medicare provides full coverage for up to 20 days of care. After that, Medicare requires a daily copay. After 100 days, facility charges are not covered. Hospice care is covered by Medicare (with some cost-sharing) if your loved one meets eligibility requirements.

Next Step: Part B medical coverage includes some preventive services. Learn More

Find a Government Agency

  • Select a state to view agencies that may assist with caregiving and eldercare issues.