Medicare Part A assists paying for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. But there’s more to it than that.
There is some cost sharing with Medicare Part A, which includes deductibles. Medicare Part A deductibles are different from a typical deductible in health insurance for people under 65. You pay a deductible for each “benefit period,” rather than for the calendar year. A benefit period starts the day you go into a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It ends when you have been out of the facility for 60 consecutive days.
You may be admitted multiple times to the hospital during one benefit period. For example, you schedule a minor procedure in the hospital and are there only a short stay and then released. Then you go back into the hospital the next week for a different health problem. That means you have 2 hospital stays within 1 benefit period, which means you would only pay 1 deductible for both stays in the hospital.
Once your last stay at the hospital has passed 60 consecutive days, you next hospitalization will be the beginning of a new benefit period. This is true even if you go into the hospital a 2nd time for the same health problem. You would pay 2 deductibles, 1 for each benefit period.
Medicare Part A helps in paying for up to 90 days of hospital or skilled nursing care for each benefit period. Part A covers a limitless number of benefit periods.
Lifetime Reserve Days and Medicare Part A
Lifetime reserve days are extra hospital days covered by Medicare. They are able to be used if you are in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility for more then 90 days. You have 60 extra covered days in your account that you can use throughout the rest of your life.
Important things to Remember About Part A and Benefit Periods:
- You pay a Part A deductible for each benefit period.
- A benefit period begins when you enter the hospital and ends when you are out for 60 consecutive days.
- One benefit period may include multiple hospitalizations.