Medicare Part A covers a wide range of inpatient care and sometimes home health care. Medicare Part A coverage includes hospital visits, nursing home care (this must include a component of healthcare, not simply custodial care), hospice care, and in some circumstances care provided in the home.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services site states "Medicare Part A counts as minimum essential coverage and satisfies the law that requires people to have health coverage."
Medicare Part A Covers
- Hospital Visits and Care
- Nursing Home Care
- Skilled Nursing Care
- Home Health Care
Medicare Part A Enrollment Period
Medicare Part Eligibility
In order to enroll in Medicare a person must be 65 years of age or disabled. In addition, a person must be a US citizen or a permanent resident with five continuous years of residency.
In some instances a person may qualify for part Medicare A before the age of 65. For example if someone has a disability, end-stage renal disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease)..
Eligibility for Medicare Part A and Part B*
- Age 65 and Older
- End-Stage Renal Disease
- Be a U.S. resident; AND
- Be either a U.S. citizen, OR
- Be an alien who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and has been residing in the United States for 5 continuous years prior to the month of filing an application for Medicare.
Most people who are eligible for Medicare Part A do not pay monthly premiums (based on the number of three-month quarters in which they made eligible tax contributions). However, Medicare part eligibility is available for people who do not have sufficient number of paid quarters. These individuals that have not enough Medicare tax paid quarters can buy into Part A with an adjusted premium. See "How Much does Part A Cost" for more information.
While Medicare Part A covers a wide range of services, it certainly doesn’t cover everything. There are two ways to find out if Medicare Part A covers a specific service. The first is to talk to a doctor or primary healthcare provider. In some instances, items or services that are normally covered by part Medicare A may not be.
If a doctor believes that something may not be covered, a person may have to sign a written acknowledgment that they have to pay for the item or service. Coverage boils down to three major factors: federal and state laws, local decisions made by companies who provide services within a particular geographic region, and national decisions about coverage made by Medicare.
Medicare Part A covers hospital expenses which are critical to inpatient care. These include meals, rooms, medication, nursing services or any other services and supplies that a hospital provides. Coverage does not include private rooms (unless medically necessary), or personal items (e.g., shampoo, razors, telephone calls).
Medicare Part A: What it Covers and How to Find Out
Medicare Part A covers mostly inpatient services. The Medicare website explains that the chief qualification for determining whether Part A covers a medical expense is whether the service or care offered is considered medically necessary to treat a disease or condition.
The Medicare website also provides a very useful feature which allows you to search to determine whether that test, item, or medical service is covered by your Medicare coverage. This feature may be found here. Sometimes, however, an item or service may be covered in some circumstances, due to its medical necessity in that particular instance, but may not be covered in your situation. If this is the case, it is very important to speak with your healthcare provider and with the Medicare representative to find out ahead of time if Medicare will be able to cover the procedure, service, or item you need.