What is Medicare Part A
Medicare is a government-run health insurance program in the United States. It provides coverage for people age 65 and older, as well as some disabled people. Part A is a type of hospital insurance plan provided by Medicare. Hospital Insurance coverage includes inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and critical access hospitals. Part A does not include long-term or custodial care. If you meet specific requirements, you may also be eligible for hospice or home health care.
Medicare Part A does not cover everything, nor does it cover the total cost for many of the covered services or medical supplies. People who want Part B must pay a monthly premium. The amount of the premium depends on the person’s income. In general, Part A covers:
- Inpatient care in a hospital
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Nursing home care (inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility that’s not custodial or long-term care)
- Hospice care
- Home health care
How do I enroll in Medicare Part A?
If you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, the government automatically enrolls you in Medicare Part A at no cost when you reach 65. Look for your Medicare card to automatically arrive in the mail three months prior to your 65th birthday (or the 25th month of a disability, as you become eligible for Medicare after two years of being disabled and receiving Social Security Disability benefits).
Individuals who are not automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A have a seven-month window of time to enroll, beginning three months prior to the month they turn 65. If you do not enroll during this time, you may have to wait until the next general enrollment period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. You can also sign up for Medicare Part A any time you are covered by Part B.
If you decide to sign up for Medicare Part A, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
What are the costs of Medicare Part A?
There is no monthly premium for Medicare Part A if you or your spouse has worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years. If you don’t meet that work requirement, or if you didn’t pay Medicare taxes while working, then you may have to pay a monthly premium for Part A. The amount of the premium depends on your income.