Main Content

What is Medicare Part A?

When you’re ready to apply for Medicare, also known as Original Medicare, you’ll find it has two parts: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. This page is all about Medicare Part A. But before we dive in, here’s a quick Original Medicare overview.

The federal agency called The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides Original Medicare. When you are three months away from turning 65, you are eligible to sign up for Medicare.

Medicare Part A specifically covers hospital care, which includes care you receive if you stay in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Sometimes it includes at-home care too, or even hospice care. Visit the Medicare Part B page to read more about how Part B covers doctor’s visits, preventive care and medical tests.

Know More About Medicare Part A coverage

Know more about Medicare Part A coverage. Here’s a handy list that breaks down what’s covered and what’s not under Medicare Part A.

What does Medicare Part A cover?
  • Hospital stays (semi-private rooms) up to 60 days
  • Hospital meals
  • Nursing services
  • Intensive care services
  • Drugs, medical supplies and equipment used on the premises
  • Lab tests and X-rays taken while hospitalized
  • Surgery and recovery costs
  • Rehabilitation and therapy services
  • Part-time home nursing care
Medicare Part A does not cover:
  • Doctor and specialists who care for you in the hospital (this falls under Medicare Part B)
  • Hospital stays in a private room (unless medically necessary)
  • The cost of blood, if the hospital has to buy it for you
  • Items for personal care (like shampoo) during your stay
  • Hospital stays longer than 60 days.

What does Medicare Part A coverage cost?

Most people don’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A coverage because they (or their spouse) paid into Social Security when they worked. If you pay Medicare Part A premiums, the longer you worked and paid into Social Security, the lower your premiums will be.

How much are Medicare Part A deductibles?

Medicare Part A coverage doesn’t have an annual deductible. Instead, deductibles apply to each hospital benefit period. A hospital benefit period begins when you go into a hospital or a skilled nursing facility and ends when you leave the hospital or skilled nursing facility for 60 consecutive days.

When do Medicare Part A copays begin?

Copays for Medicare Part A coverage apply once you stay in a hospital for more than 60 days in a single benefit period. In a skilled nursing facility, your copays begin after the first 20 days.

When are you eligible for Medicare Part A?

In general, Medicare Part A eligibility requires that you be 65 or older and a U.S. citizen. If you were not born in the U.S., you must be a citizen as well as a permanent resident for at least five continuous years to qualify. You may also apply for Medicare if you are younger than 65 and have certain disabilities.

When can you apply for Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A enrollment is automatic if you’re already collecting Social Security. If you’re not collecting and meet the age requirement, you can apply for Medicare through Social Security during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is:

  • Three months before your 65th birthday month
  • Your birthday month
  • Three months after your birthday month

Medicare Part A is just the beginning of what Medicare offers. Find out more about Medicare Part B, Part C and Part D to get the whole picture of your Medicare coverage. Explore your Medicare coverage options and your costs.

Compare costs and find a Medicare plan that’s right for you.
 

Shop Medicare Plans Today


Y0114_20_111907_U  CMS Accepted 8/29/2019
502868MUMENMUB

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of: In Colorado Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. In Connecticut: Anthem Health Plans, Inc. In Georgia: Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc.  In Indiana: Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. In Kentucky: Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. In Maine: Anthem Health Plans of Maine, Inc. In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area): RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. In Nevada: Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc. HMO products underwritten by HMO Colorado, Inc. dba HMO Nevada. In New Hampshire: Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. HMO plans are administered by Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc. and underwritten by Matthew Thornton Health Plan, Inc. In Ohio: Community Insurance Company. In Virginia: Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. In Wisconsin: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (BCBSWI), which underwrites or administers the PPO and indemnity policies and underwrites the out of network benefits in POS policies offered by Compcare or WCIC; Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (Compcare) underwrites or administers the HMO policies and Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company (WCIC) underwrites or administers Well Priority HMO or POS policies. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of the Anthem websites constitutes your agreement with our Terms of Use.