There are four basic parts of Medicare: Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Part C, and Part D. I’m going to break down Medicare Part A including how to qualify for it, when you get it, and what exactly it covers.
Qualifying for Medicare Part A
You qualify for Medicare Part A if you have worked at least 40 quarters (ten years) while paying Medicare taxes, or if you are the spouse of someone who has worked the ten years. You may also qualify for Medicare Part A if you have a diagnosed disability for at least 24 months. You will not have to pay for Medicare Part A if you meet these requirements. Remember those Medicare taxes that were coming out of your check every month? Well Medicare Part A is what you were paying for all those years. If for some reason you only had worked over 30 quarters, but did not make it to 40 quarters you are still able to buy Medicare Part A for a reduced premium. The current premium in 2017 is $227. If you didn’t make it to even 30 quarters, or if you don’t qualify any other way, you will have to pay the full premium of $413 in 2017.
When Can I Enroll Into Medicare Part A
You will likely be able to enroll into Medicare Part A when you turn 65 years of age, or if you have been diagnosed with a disability, and have received benefits for at least 24 months. I write in more detail about this subject in my post about qualifying for Medicare.
Medicare Part A Coverage
Medicare Part A is not complete Medicare coverage. You will want Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D as well. In some cases you may even elect to enroll into Medicare Part C. Medicare Part A is known as hospital coverage. Don’t think that this means that it covers an entire hospital stay because is does not. Medicare Part A covers the following:
- Inpatient Hospital Care – this is for things like a semi-private room, supplies, and drugs as part of your treatment
- Skilled Nursing Care – in a skilled nursing facility under certain conditions for a limited time
- Home Health Services – intermittent skilled nursing care along with some therapy and continued occupational services
Expect to pay the following:
- Inpatient Hospital Deductible – $1316 for 2017 – Can be applied multiple times for different occurrences and covers days 1-60
- Hospital Co-pay – Days 61-90 is $329/day in 2017
- Skilled Nursing Facility – Days 1-20 is $0; Days 21-100 is $164.50/day in 2017
- Hospice – $0
- Home Health Services – $0
Notice what is lacking from your hospital coverage is doctor services. If you require surgery, that cost falls under Medicare Part B, along with any other doctor provided services. This is why Part A is not enough and must have Part B included with it. Also, notice that you still have out of pocket costs with Medicare Part A. You will still have some substantial costs to pay when you go to utilize your Medicare Part A coverage. This is why you may want to consider some other kind of supplemental coverage along with your Medicare coverage.