You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when you get Original Medicare. Part A is your inpatient hospital insurance, and it covers care, such as:
- Inpatient care in hospitals
- Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
- Long-term care hospitals
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Home health care services
- Hospice care
Cost of Medicare Part A
For the majority of people, there is no monthly premium for Medicare Part A. This is because most people pay Medicare taxes during their employment.
However, before Medicare starts covering any hospital costs, you must pay the yearly deductible. For 2019, the Part A deductible is $1,364.
After the deductible is met, Medicare will cover all hospital costs during the first 60 days of a hospital stay. If the hospital stay extends beyond 60 days, patients begin shouldering more of the charges. From day 61 to day 90, the patient must pay $341 in coinsurance per day. From day 91 and beyond, the patient will pay $682 in coinsurance each day (up to 60 days). However, in general, the average length of hospital visits covered by Medicare is fairly short, around eight days.
*If you must buy Medicare Part A, you will pay up to $437 (in 2019) per month.
Eligibility for Medicare Part A
In order to be eligible for premium-free Part A, you must be:
- 65 or older
- Eligible to receive monthly Social Security or RRB (Railroad Retirement Board) benefits
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. There is no need to file a separate application to enroll in Part A. You will get your Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday (or your 25th month of disability).
If you are not receiving Social Security income benefits (for example, if you are working) when you turn 65, then you will need to actively sign up for Medicare Part A on the Medicare.gov website.
GoMedigap does not offer Medicare insurance. To apply for Medicare Part A, you must contact Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213 or visiting SSA.gov.