You usually don't pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for a certain amount of time while working. This is sometimes called "premium-free Part A."
What is Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A is most commonly referred to as hospital insurance. Part A will cover semi-private rooms, meals, general nursing, drugs as part of your inpatient treatment in addition to hospital services and supplies.
What is covered under Medicare Part A?
Part A covers up to 150 days total hospitalization for a lifetime and up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility. Part A does NOT cover any surgery or treatment received while inpatient. Please see Part B for more information.
- Hospital Services & Emergency Care
- Hospital Care
- Skilled Nursing Facility Care
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities
- Home Health Care Services
When Should I Apply For Medicare Part A?
Initial Enrollment Period – IEP, this is a 7-month period that includes:
- the 3 months prior to the month you turn 65
- the month of your 65th birthday
- the 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Special Enrollment Period – if you or a spouse are still working, you may sign up anytime while you have group health coverage or during the 8-month period that begins the month after employment or coverage ends, whichever occurs first.
General Enrollment Period – between January 1 and March 31 each year. Your coverage will start July 1 of that year. This is for those who missed their IEP, there may be imposed penalties for Part B and D.
How Do I Apply to Medicare Part A?
You can enroll in one of the three ways listed below:
- Applying via the Social Security’s website: www.ssa.gov
- Calling Social Security: 1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778
- Visiting your local Social Security office
If you already receive benefits from Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you do not have to sign up. You should automatically receive your Medicare card, it’s white with a red and blue stripe, by your birthday month. Your benefits will begin the first day of the month you turn 65. Note: If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will begin the first day of the prior month.
If you are disabled, you automatically receive benefits after your 24th month of receiving Social Security disability benefits. Your card will be mailed to you three months prior to your 25th month of disability. You can either apply for Medicare or Social Security, or both at the same time.
How much does Part A cost?
Most people get premium-free Part A.
You can get premium-free Part A at 65 if:
- You already get retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
- You're eligible to get Social Security or Railroad benefits but haven't filed for them yet.
- You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.
If you're under 65, you can get premium-free Part A if:
- You got Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
- You have and meet certain requirements.
Medicare Part A Costs for 2019
If you buy Part A, you'll pay up to $437 each month. If you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $437. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, the standard Part A premium is $240.
Besides the Part A premium, if any, do I have to pay anything else for Part A?
You will be responsible for a$1,364 deductible (this amount may change annually) when you are admitted to the hospital per benefit period. There is no annual cap, meaning, a beneficiary can have several benefit periods in one year. A Medicare year begins on January 1st and ends December 31st. This is why most beneficiaries enroll in a secondary plan, to give peace of mind when it comes to out of pocket expenses.
- You’re admitted to the hospital as an inpatient after an official doctor’s order, which says you need inpatient hospital care to treat your illness or injury.
- The hospital accepts Medicare.
- In certain cases, the Utilization Review Committee of the hospital approves your stay while you’re in the hospital.
Your costs in Original Medicare:
- Days 1–60: $0 for each benefit period.
- Days 61–90: $341 coinsurance per day of each benefit period.
- Days 91 and beyond: $682 coinsurance per each "lifetime reserve day" after day 90 for each benefit period (up to 60 days over your lifetime).
- Beyond all costs.