Medicare Part A

Part A is an Original Medicare plan available to those who qualify at a low cost. It provides hospital coverage and is often coupled with Part B for an overall beneficial plan.

The Wonderful World of Original Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is a government health insurance plan that covers many basic necessities. Generally speaking, it covers hospital care, stays, and services. More specifically, this includes:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care (not custodial or long-term care)
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

Part A is one of the most popular and widely used insurance plans for seniors, those with disability, or those with ESRD or ALS. According to CNBC:

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 adults over age 50 are on Medicare or expect to enroll.
  • More than 70 percent of future retirees wish they had a better understanding of this retiree healthcare program.

Enrolling in Part A as a Senior or Disabled Person

If you’re a part of the 70%, one of the best ways to start understanding your Medicare coverage better is to understand your eligibility and enrollment. Otherwise, you may miss prime opportunities to improve your health insurance. Medicare lists 3 main factors of eligibility for Part A:

  • You are age 65 or older and a U.S. citizen (or permanent legal resident)
  • You are disabled and have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months
  • You have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease)

If you are not yet 65, the best time to enroll is the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This begins 3 months before your birthday, the month of, and 3 months after. During the IEP, you can not only enroll in Part A and Part B (Original Medicare), but other coverage as well, including Medicare Advantage (Part C) and/or Part D.

If you are over 65 and missed your IEP, you can still enroll during the General Enrollment Period (GEP) which takes place annually from January 1st through March 31st. You may experience late enrollment fees if you enroll during this period. You may also delay your enrollment if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

You Won’t Pay Much—How to Get Premium-Free Part A

According to Medicare’s website, “most people get premium-free Part A.” When you sign up for a Medicare plan, you will have to make monthly payments called a premium. However, you can skip this fee entirely and get premium-free Part A at 65 if:

  • You have worked at least 10 years paying Social Security taxes
  • You already get retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board
  • You’re eligible to get Social Security or Railroad benefits but haven’t filed for them yet
  • You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment

You will, however, have to pay a deductible—in 2022, the Part A deductible is $1,556 per benefit period.

Now is a Better Time Than Ever To Get Your Medicare Planning Started

Whether you’re planning your Medicare ahead of your enrollment or are late to the game and just getting started, Iowa Illinois Senior Solutions can help. To get the most out of your Medicare coverage, give us a call at 563-579-6116, or email us at jon@iailsenior.com.

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