Knowing the ins-and-outs of Medicare can be confusing. How much will you pay per month? What doctors can you see? How do you enroll? What does each part of the program cover? Let’s answer these questions, starting first with what exactly Medicare is and who it covers.
What is Medicare
Medicare is a program meant to assist with healthcare for the following demographics:
Overall, Medicare covers hospital costs, visits to the doctor, prescriptions, nursing home care, second opinions, and medical equipment
- Elderly people 65 and over
- People who become disabled before 65 (in this instance, you must be collecting Social Security Disability Insurance, which we’ll discuss more when talking about enrolling in Medicare)
Medicare coverage is split up into four main parts. Overall, Medicare covers hospital costs, visits to the doctor, prescriptions, nursing home care, second opinions, and medical equipment. But Medicare isn’t completely free. Everyone pays a different rate depending on the type of coverage they get.
The first section of Medicare concerns inpatient care costs. These can include a range of services like hospital stays, nursing home care, and hospice care.
Part A is one of the three primary parts of Medicare that details every facet of healthcare that the program covers. The remaining parts—those beyond A, B, and D—are variations on different plans for different kinds of people who qualify, but typically carry some form of combination of Part A, B, and D. We’ll discuss that more later.
Every one of the 55 million-plus people who have Medicare have part A under their plan.
It’s easy to say that Part A of Medicare covers all “inpatient care” costs, so let’s dig into the details of what that means exactly. These services include:
- Emergency room care
- Stays at a standard hospital
- Mental healthcare
- Physical and occupational therapy at home
- Long-term stays at hospitals
- Certain medical equipment needed at home (if it’s bought by your doctor and deemed necessary)
- Doctor and nurse care at a hospice facility
- Care at an inpatient rehab facility
Health coverage under Medicare can change every year, so stay in contact with your insurance provider to make sure the services under part A you need are covered. Nevertheless, there is still a large list of services that are covered by Medicare at any point. You can find out if what you need is covered here.
There is no premium for Part A services. There are some costs that may arise from lengthy hospital and “skilled nursing facility” stays. You can find these costs detailed here.