Senior Resources » Elder Law » Nearing Age 65? Here are the Simple Facts About Medicare Part A You Should Know Before Enrolling

Nearing Age 65? Here are the Simple Facts About Medicare Part A You Should Know Before Enrolling

65 birthday candles

The parts of Medicare can be confusing. Let’s break them down piece by piece! No complicated medical jargon. No superfluous anecdotes that don’t apply to you. Just the SIMPLE facts. Here’s everything you need to know about Medicare Part A.


Medicare Part A Cost in 2023

You do not have to pay a premium to receive Medicare Part A if, in your lifetime, you or your spouse have worked for at least 10 years (40 quarters) and paid Medicare taxes.

You do have to pay a premium for Part A if you have worked less than 40 quarters. If you or your spouse worked between 30 and 39 quarters, Part A will cost $278 per month. If you or your spouse worked less than 30 quarters, Part A will cost $506 per month.


Medicare Part A Deductible in 2023

The Part A deductible for inpatient care is $1,600 for each benefit period.

A benefit period begins the day you’re admitted as an inpatient. The benefit period ends when inpatient care has not been received for 60 days in a row. If 60 days have passed and you are admitted as an inpatient, then a new benefit period begins. Thus, a new deductible of $1,600 will have to be met.

Benefit Period – the measure of your use of hospital and skilled nursing services under Original Medicare (Parts A and B).

piggy bank surrounded by a stethescope

Your Cost for Services

If you receive Medicare Part A hospital insurance, you can expect to pay the following for services:


Inpatient Care in a Hospital

For each benefit period:

The Part A deductible for inpatient care is $1,600.

You pay $0 per day for days 1-60.

You pay $400 per day for days 61-90.

You pay $800 per day for days 91-150. This 60-day period is part of your lifetime reserve days.


You pay all costs after exceeding lifetime reserve days.

Lifetime Reserve Days – Additional days that Medicare will pay for when you are an inpatient for more than 90 days. You have a total of 60 days to use during your lifetime. For each lifetime reserve day, Medicare pays all covered costs except for daily copays (i.e. $800/day).

Skilled Nursing Facility Care

For each benefit period:

You pay $0 per day for days 1-20.

You pay $200 per day for days 21-100.

You pay all costs per day for days 101 and beyond.

Hospice Care

You pay $0 for hospice services.

You pay up to $5 for prescription drugs for pain relief and symptom management at home.

You pay 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for occasional inpatient respite care.

Medicare-Approved Amount – The amount Original Medicare will pay for a particular service or item.

Home Health Care Services

Medicare Part A and Part B will pay for part-time or intermittent (i.e. once-in-a-while) eligible home health services as long as you are homebound.

Homebound – defines this as a person who has trouble leaving their home without help, a person who doesn’t leave their home ever because it’s a major effort, or a person whose doctor has recommended they stay home because of their condition.

You pay $0 for covered home health care services.

You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for durable medical equipment.

Durable Medical Equipment – Any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living (i.e. wheelchairs, hospital beds, or walkers).

senior adult woman smiling with lots of balloons on her birthday

Medicare Part A Covers What?

So, what does Medicare Part A actually cover? What services are included? Here’s a comprehensive list of everything you can expect Medicare Part A to cover and not cover:

Does Medicare Cover Inpatient Care in a Hospital?

You are considered an inpatient when you are formally admitted to a hospital with a doctor’s direct order. You are considered an outpatient if a doctor has not given a direct order for you to be admitted. Examples of outpatient services are x-rays, lab tests, or outpatient surgeries. Here’s everything you can expect to be covered and not covered if you are considered an inpatient.


  • Semi-private hospital rooms
  • Meals during your stay
  • General nursing services
  • Drugs administered during your stay
  • Inpatient care as part of a qualifying clinical research study
  • Hospital services and supplies that are considered part of your treatment
  • Rehabilitation facilities in the hospital that are part of your treatment

Not Covered:

  • Private-duty nursing
  • Private room (unless medically necessary)
  • Personal care items (i.e. soap, shampoo, razors, etc.)

Does Medicare Cover Services in a Skilled Nursing Facility?

Medicare Part A will pay for care in a skilled nursing facility on a short-term basis if you qualify as an inpatient and a doctor has prescribed the care.


  • Semi-private room
  • Meals in the facility
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Medication in the facility
  • Medical supplies and equipment used in the facility

Not Covered:

  • Anything recommended, but not doctor-prescribed for curative purposes

Does Medicare Cover Hospice Care Services?

Those who have a life expectancy of 6 months or less can use hospice, medical support used for comfort and symptom management near the end of life. Medicare will pay for most services or treatments that a person’s hospice care team recommends. Here are the most common.


  • Doctor visits
  • Nursing services
  • Medical equipment for symptom management
  • Medical supplies
  • Medication for pain management
  • Spiritual or grief counseling
  • Inpatient respite care

Although Medicare mostly pays for hospice care, be aware that there are a few things it will not cover.

Not Covered:

  • Treatments intended as a cure
  • Prescription medication intended as a cure
  • Care that was not arranged by a senior’s hospice care team
  • Room and board if the senior resides in a facility such as a nursing home or assisted living

Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care Services?

Medicare will pay for part-time or intermittent home health services as long as you are homebound.


  • Medically necessary part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Medical social services
  • Part-time or intermittent home health aide care (if you’re also receiving skilled nursing care at the same time)
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Medical supplies for home use

Not Covered:

  • 24-hour care
  • Meal delivery services
  • Homemaker or housekeeping services
  • Personal care assistance (if this is the only care needed)
Medicare illustration

More Help with Medicare Part A

If you’re looking for more information about Medicare Part A or how to enroll when you turn 65, then check out these resources on Senior Resource:

Still need help? Then check these websites:

Originally published March 30, 2023

Free Senior Resources

Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Safety Cover

Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Safety

Get The Guide
Blessings for Baby Boomers

Blessings for Baby Boomers

Get The Guide

Step by Step Guide to Providing Home Care

Get The Guide

Medicare Prescription Survival Guide

Get The Guide
Get weekly tips on housing, retirement living, senior care, and more sent right to your inbox.
Get Senior Resource in Your Inbox
Boost Your Social Security Income by 76%!

Bob Carlson, America's leading retirement expert, reveals the big secret the IRS won't tell you.

Get Bob's report, FREE of charge along with a complimentary subscription to Retirement Watch Weekly, delivered to your email inbox each week along with other financial news and offers from our valued partners. We value your privacy.