What some might consider a staple of American healthcare coverage, Medicare Part A is available to individuals who meet specific criteria. All citizens and permanent legal residents for the last five years are eligible for this coverage once they reach age 65. In some cases, Medicare coverage can be obtained sooner if you are disabled or have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Enrollment is automatic if you’re already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits.
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The coverage under Medicare Part A is sometimes confusing for recipients, as the plan does not pay for all services. Although most people receive these benefits at no cost, assuming they worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, some individuals are able to secure this coverage through a monthly premium payment.
What Part A Covers
Most refer to this plan as hospital coverage, as the fundamental elements of a visit to this type of facility are at least in part paid for. While the specifics will vary based upon the unique services you receive, Medicare Part A will likely contribute toward the costs of:
- Hospice Care
- Home Health Services
- Inpatient Hospital Care
- Skilled Nursing Facility Care
If you are ill or sustain an injury, your coverage will kick in toward many of the aspects of a hospital visit, including a semi-private room, meals, and medications needed during your stay. Supplies, nursing services, and more may be partially or fully paid for through your Part A plan. Home healthcare treatment may also be included and often pays toward physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment, medical social services, and more.
Similarly to hospital care benefits, Medicare Part A will also help with the costs associated with a skilled nursing facility stay. After you have spent at least three days in the hospital, your physician must approve your need for daily skilled care. Palliative care through Hospice services can also be covered through Part A if you have a terminal illness with a timeline of six months or less to live.
Items That Are Not Covered
While Medicare Part A does contribute toward a vast amount of hospital-based services, it’s important to realize that this plan does not pay 100% of your medical bills. A variety of factors related to a hospital stay, home care, and more will determine just how much of your care will be free, as items like private hospital rooms, meals at home, and long-term skilled care are not included.
Keep in mind that in order for Part A to pay toward some of your costs, you must visit a Medicare provider who works in a Medicare-designated facility. Individuals approaching the age of 65 will receive their coverage information in the mail roughly three months before their birthday, and if you do not, check to see if you need to manually enroll for your benefits.