Medicare Part A

Part A of Medicare is the hospital insurance part. When you have Part A, Uncle Sam is
helping cover inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care.

Original Medicare and Uncle Sam DO NOT Cover:
● Most prescription drugs
● Long-term care
● Routine dental care or dentures
● Routine vision care
● Routine hearing care or hearing aids
● Routine foot care
● Other alternative treatments.

We already established in our Medicare Overview that most people do not pay a
premium for Part A because they have pre-paid this in the form of taxes. But, Part A
isn’t totally paid for no matter how long you worked and paid taxes, as Uncle Sam still
has a deductible.

Deductible– the amount you have to pay BEFORE insurance kicks in and pays
In 2022, that deductible amount is: $1556

**If you stay in the hospital for more than 60 days in a row, there are also daily costs
associated for days 61-90 & a higher cost for days 91-150. This does not apply to most
people. But it is something to be aware of if you do not have supplemental coverage like
a MAPD plan.**

So that means if you go to the hospital, they are going to run tests, labs, whatever else, and then charge you for those services. Before Uncle Sam kicks in his share of the bill though, you have to pay $1556. Once you pay that, Uncle Sam covers 80% going forward for the year, and you pay 20%.

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 You can enroll in Medicare Part A up to 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the 3 months after you turn 65. So basically, 7 months out of the 12 months in your 65th birthday year.

This is called your Initial Enrollment Period.

Most people enroll during this time, because it is FREE.

Under 65

If you are 64 or under, you still may qualify for full Medicare benefits if:

  • You are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits for at least 24 months (can be nonconsecutive)
  • You receive a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board and meet certain conditions
  • You have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • You have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

Common Questions About Part A

Where do I sign up for Part A?

  • If you are already enrolled in Social Security by the time you turn 65, then you will need to do nothing. You will be automatically enrolled into Medicare.
  • If not enrolled in Social Security when turning 65, then you will have to actively enroll either by phone, in person at your local Social Security office or online at

What if I have coverage through work or my spouse’s work?

  • If you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, it doesn’t make sense not to enroll when first eligible.
  • You can enroll in both Medicare Part A and keep your employer coverage.
  • Depending on the size of the company you’re insured with, Original Medicare will become your primary insurance (Pays the bill 1st) and your employer coverage will become your secondary insurance (Pays the bill 2nd).

What if I have coverage through the VA or Tri-Care?

  • The VA encourages you to sign up for Medicare because in case the VA loses funding in the future, you have some coverage.
  • If you have TRICARE, you should sign up for Medicare benefits when you’re eligible.
  • You won’t need Medicare Part D if you have TRICARE but some TRICARE beneficiaries sign up for Medicare Advantage. And to get Medicare Advantage or Part C, you need to have both Part A and Part B of Medicare.
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