Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is the portion of Original Medicare policies that covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice care and home health care. If you are approaching retirement age or will need to depend on Medicare coverage for another reason, it can be helpful to understand exactly how Medicare Part A functions in comparison to other aspects of Medicare.

Most people qualify for Original Medicare automatically at age 65 it they are collecting Social Security benefits. For U.S. citizens below the age of 65, it is possible to qualify for Medicare coverage if you have a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

What Is Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A covers a range of different hospitalization costs, including:

  • Hospital care
  • Limited home health services
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care

Medicare Part A and Hospital Care

When you become a Medicare Part A beneficiary, your policy will cover some of the expenses for inpatient services that are critical to your care. Meals, semi-private rooms, nursing services, medications and any other services or supplies that are provided to you in a hospital setting. Some hospital settings include:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Long-term care hospitals
  • Mental health care facilities
  • Critical access hospitals

You may need blood during your hospital stay, but Medicare Part A does not cover the cost of blood. If hospitals are able to acquire the blood from a blood bank at no charge, you do not need to pay anything. If that is not the case, you are responsible for purchasing the first three units that you receive in any calendar year.

Medicare Part A and Home Health Care

If your doctor determines that home health care is necessary for your recovery, Medicare Part A will cover those expenses. Some home health services include the following:

  • Part-time skilled nursing care
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical social services
  • Part-time or intermittent home health aide services

Usually, home health care is covered if you cannot leave home without substantial effort. Medicare will not cover home care, meals or homemaker services that are not directly related to your treatment. If the services are covered, Medicare will cover the entire cost of the services that are administered.

Medicare Part A and Nursing Home Care

Care that takes place in a skilled nursing facility is covered after you’ve had a 3 or more day inpatient hospital stay for a related illness or injury. Medicare will cover the following expenses during your stay at a Medicare-certified nursing care facility:

  • Semi-private rooms
  • Meals
  • Nursing services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Medications
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Ambulance transportation
Medicare Part A and Hospice Care

If you are afflicted with a terminal illness and have an estimated six or less months left to live, you might be eligible to have your hospice care covered by Medicare. In order to qualify for hospice care coverage, you must give up curative treatments for your terminal illness. Medicare will cover palliative treatment that is designed to keep you comfortable up until the point of death. Some examples of services and supplies covered are as follows:

  • Social services
  • Medical supplies
  • Pain relief medications
  • Hospice aide services
  • Doctor services
  • Spiritual and grief counseling
Enrolling in Medicare Part A

You can enroll in a Medicare Part A policy during the next available General Enrollment Period, which occurs between January 1 and March 31. Once enrolled, your coverage will begin on July 1st of the same year. If you lose your employer or union-sponsored group insurance or were a volunteer serving in a foreign country during the enrollment period, you may be eligible to apply during a Special Enrollment Period. This period is the eight months that follow the time when your previous coverage ended. People who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period receive their benefits 30 days after enrollment.

Contact Grutz Financial for more information about how you can get started with a Medicare Part A policy.

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