Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and people with certain chronic health problems in the United States. Medicare is divided into four parts, with Part A covering hospital stays, skilled nursing care, and other inpatient services. Discover the comprehensive coverage of Medicare Part A and ensure you have the essential healthcare protection you need. Our guide explains what Medicare Part A covers, including hospitalization, skilled nursing care, and hospice care.

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is one of the four parts of Medicare. It covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Part A is often called “hospital insurance” because it covers the costs associated with a hospital stay, including room and board, nursing care, and medications.

Who is Eligible for Medicare Part A?

Part A of Medicare is available to nearly all U.S. citizens who are 65 or older and who have paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. There are, however, several cases where this is not the case. To give just two examples, Medicare Part A may be available to people under the age of 65 who suffer from end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

What Does Medicare Part A Cover?

Among the many inpatient hospital services that are covered by Medicare Part A are:

Hospital Stays

Medicare Part A covers the cost of a semi-private room, meals, nursing care, and other hospital services.

Skilled Nursing Care

If you require skilled nursing care after a hospital stay, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of your care in a skilled nursing facility for up to 100 days.

Hospice Care

Suppose you have a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. In that case, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of hospice care, including medical care, counseling, and medication.

Home Health Care

If you need skilled nursing care or therapy at home, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of these services.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Services

If you need rehabilitation services after an illness or injury, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of inpatient rehabilitation services in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Blood Transfusions

If you require a blood transfusion during a hospital stay, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of the transfusion.

What is Not Covered by Medicare Part A?

While Medicare Part A covers a wide range of inpatient hospital services, the program does not cover some services. These include:

Outpatient Services

Medicare Part A does not cover the cost of outpatient services, such as doctor visits or outpatient surgery.

Prescription Drugs

Medicare Part A does not cover the cost of prescription drugs you take home. However, Part A may cover the cost of medications that are administered to you during a hospital stay.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care expenses in a nursing home or assisted living facility are not covered by Medicare Part A.

Dental Care

Medicare Part A does not cover routine dental care, such as cleanings or fillings.

Eye Care

Medicare Part A does not cover routine eye exams, eyeglasses, or contact lenses.

How to Enroll in Medicare Part A

Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months before your 65th birthday and concludes three months after it if you are qualified for Medicare Part A. You may be penalized for enrolling in Medicare after your IEP. Medicare Part A enrollment is through the Social Security Administration.


Medicare Part A provides essential coverage for inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. However, it’s important to note that Part A does not cover all healthcare services. Medicare beneficiaries may also need to enroll in other parts of Medicare, such as Part B (which covers outpatient services) or Part D (which covers prescription drugs). Some recipients may also opt for a Medicare Advantage plan, which includes all the services of Original Medicare plus some perks like routine dental and vision care.

To avoid late fees and coverage gaps, it is crucial to sign up for Medicare Part A within your Initial Enrollment Period if you are eligible. Medicare enrollment and questions can be directed to the Social Security Administration or a local Medicare counselor. With the right coverage in place, you can access the healthcare services you need to stay healthy and live your best life.


What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance program under the federal government’s Medicare system. It includes care received while hospitalized, in a nursing home, at a hospice, and at home.

Who is eligible for Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is made available to persons who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years once they reach the age of 65. There could also be exceptions made for some younger people with impairments or specific medical issues.

What does Medicare Part A cover?

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, including semi-private rooms, meals, and necessary supplies and equipment. Home health care, hospice care, and care in a nursing home are also included.

Are there any costs associated with Medicare Part A?

If you or your spouse have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you likely won’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A. However, there may be deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments associated with some services.

Can I choose my own hospital or a skilled nursing facility under Medicare Part A?

Yes, you can choose any hospital or skilled nursing facility that accepts Medicare. However, you may have to pay more if you choose a facility that is not in the Medicare program.

How long does Medicare Part A coverage last?

Medicare Part A coverage lasts as long as you are eligible and enrolled in the program. The duration of your eligibility for benefits is indefinite.

Can I get Medicare Part A if I already have private insurance?

Yes, you can still enroll in Medicare Part A even if you have private insurance. However, you should check with your insurance provider to see how your coverage will work with Medicare.

What if I need services that are not covered by Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans exist to help pay for medical care that isn’t covered by Original Medicare (Part A).

Can I change my Medicare Part A coverage?

You can generally change your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15 to December 7 each year. There may be other times during the year when you can make changes, depending on your circumstances.

How do I sign up for Part A of Medicare?

You can enroll in Medicare Part A when you turn 65 or during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), a seven-month period starting three months before your 65th birthday. You can also enroll during the General Enrollment Period (GEP) from January 1 to March 31 each year, but you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.