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Medicare Ca Basics: Part A Hospital

Medicare is the federally funded entitlement health insurance coverage for those who are age 65 and those who have a qualifying illness or disability. There are four "official" parts to the Medicare Ca program. Part A is hospital care.

If you worked full time in the United States for ten or more years or if you qualify for Railroad Retirement benefits then you will automatically be enrolled to receive Medicare Part A coverage when you turn 65 years old. If you did not then you may purchase Medicare Part A during open enrollment at a rate that is conversant with the amount of Social Security credits that you have earned.

Medicare part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, home health services and hospice care.

Inpatient Care

If you need to go to the hospital for inpatient care then your Medicare Part A insurance will cover up to a 90 day period in the hospital for each benefit period. (A benefit period begins when you are admitted to the hospital) If you do need more time in the hospital then you can access an additional 60 worth of coverage, but the additional days are lifetime days and will not be replenished. In other words if you need to be in the hospital for 92 days then you will use up 2 days worth of your lifetime coverage. To be covered under Medicare Part A for inpatient care you must be admitted to the hospital for at least three days with the time beginning at midnight on the first day and continuing through midnight the day of discharge.

Medicare Part A inpatient care covers you for a semi private room, meals, miscellaneous hospital services and supplies and general nursing care.

But this coverage is not completely free. You will have to pay a deductible of $1,132 for inpatient care and then a co-payment charge of $283 per day for the first 60 days and $566 per day for any additional inpatient days.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Once you are released from the hospital, Medicare Part A will cover up to 20 days of skilled nursing facility care at 100% for an illness or injury relating to your hospital stay. If you need more time in the SNF then Medicare will cover an additional 80 days with a co-payment of (2011) $141.50 per day.

Skilled nursing facility coverage under Medicare Part A includes a semi private room, rehabilitative services, meals and nursing care.

Home Health Care

Those who are homebound via doctor's orders after a hospital stay and require home health services are covered at 100% for up to 100 days under Medicare Part A. Those who need more coverage for home health services may be covered under Medicare Part B.

Home health care under Medicare Part A includes skilled nursing services, home health aide, physical and occupational therapy, medical social services, speech language pathology and some home use medical equipment such as oxygen, wheelchair, walkers and hospital beds.

Hospice Care

Those who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have been given an expiration date of 6 months or less can access Medicare Part A hospice care at 100% coverage less a 5% co-payment for any prescription drugs needed.

Hospice care under Part A can be either in your own home or in a hospice environment and is very extensive including home health aide, physical therapy, counseling, homemaker services, and skilled nursing and doctor care. Those who choose to stay at home must be cared for by a loved one due to the fact that Medicare will not cover full time in home care but may qualify for respite care which is up to 5 consecutive in hospital days to give the caretaker a break. However, respite care is not 100% covered and requires a co-payment of 5%.

Hospice care under Medicare Ca Part A does not have any other co-payment charges or deductible however, hospice care does not cover any support or curative medicine for terminal patients.