Medicare Part A is hospital coverage designed to provide you access to affordable inpatient care as well as skilled nursing and home health needs, hospice services and blood transfusions.
How much will I pay for Part A?
For the majority of Medicare beneficiaries, there is no cost for Part A. We all pay taxes during our working years that are specifically for your future healthcare coverage during retirement. These taxes go to offset the cost of Part A later on. As long as you have worked for 10 years in your lifetime in the United States, you will generally pay nothing at all for Part A. Read more about the cost of Part A on our Medicare costs page.
When do I enroll in Medicare Part A?
Enrolling in Medicare Part A is automatic for some people, particularly those already taking Social Security income benefits or receiving their 25th month of Social Security disability income benefits. When this happens, you’ll open your mailbox 2 – 3 months before you turn 65 and find your card waiting for you. You’ll want to keep your eye on the mail you receive in the month before you turn 65, because your card will likely be in there somewhere. It is a red, white and blue card printed on heavy card stock. It is okay to laminate the card when you receive it so that it will stay in good shape over the years of being in your wallet or purse.
If you are not already receiving Social Security income benefits or Railroad Retirement income benefits yet when you turn 65, then you will need to actively sign up for Part A.
What is my cost sharing under Part A?
Each year CMS determines the Part A deductible and coinsurance that you will be responsible for during the following year. These are the cost-sharing amounts that you must pay when accessing your Part A benefits. In 2013, you must pay:
- an $1184 deductible for each inpatient hospital stay when you have not been in the hospital during the previous 60 days.
- $296 per day for days 61 – 90 of a consecutive hospital stay
- $592 per day for days 91 – 150 of a consecutive hospital stay
- Any and all costs for day 150 and beyond
Fortunately, Medigap policies and Part C Advantage plans are types of Medicare supplemental health insurance coverage which you can purchase to insure against these high expenses. They help cover the charges that the goverment does not pay for you. Either type of plan will help you to significantly reduce your financial exposure for routine medical costs and also for potential catastrophic illnesses or conditions.
The majority of Medigap plans pick up the Part A hospital deductible for you so that when you enter the hospital, you owe nothing at all for the cost of your room. Similarly, if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan instead, the plan will pay for the hospital stay, and you will just pay a smaller copay for that stay. Though the two types of policies function differently, the main thing to understand is that either one of them will reduce what you spend as compared to what you would have spent if you had no coverage at all.
To submit an online request for help from our expert staff, you can click the following link and someone can contact you via phone or email to provide you help with understanding Medicare Part A and quotes for Medigap plans.