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Medicare Part A

Original Medicare contains two parts — Part A and Part B.  Part A covers inpatient care.

What does Medicare Part A cover?

  • Inpatient hospital care: This includes all care you receive after being admitted into a hospital by a physician. Medicare covers up to 90 days each benefit period in a general hospital. In addition, you receive 60 lifetime reserve days. It also covers up to 190 lifetime days in a Medicare-certified psychiatric hospital. 
  • Skilled nursing facility care: Medicare covers your room, board, and certain services provided in a skilled nursing facility. This includes medications, tube feedings, and wound care. It covers up to 100 days each benefit period. To qualify, you must have spent at least three consecutive days in the hospital within 30 days of admission to a skilled nursing facility and must have needed skilled nursing or therapy services. 
  • Home health care: Though it is normally covered by Part B, Part A coverage will kick in if you have spent at least three consecutive days as a hospital inpatient within 14 days of receiving home care. Up to 100 days of daily care are covered or an unlimited amount of intermittent care.
  • Hospice care: Hospice care is covered for as long as your provider certifies it is necessary. 

Am I eligible for Medicare Part A?

Most people are eligible at age 65 if they’re already collecting retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board. You may also qualify if you have a disability, end-stage renal disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). You must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.

How much does it cost?

Most of the time, Part A has no cost. Certain taxes you paid during your working years are specifically for future Medicare coverage. 

As long as you have worked for at least 10 years in your lifetime in the United States, most of the time you won’t pay a dime. If you have not, you can still purchase Part A if you’ve been a legal resident or have had a green card for at least five years. 

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