Medicare Part A – In Detail
Medicare Part A, popular as the Health Insurance, is a scheme offered by the federal government of the United States to persons who’ve clocked 65 years or more and more so qualify. It is suitable for both the citizens and those immigrants permanently residing in the US since at least the most recent five years. Medicare Part A helps meet the medicals cost of inpatient hospital care such as the care and attention a person is granted in the hospital, a skilled nursing facility or even at a hospice.
Aside from extensively benefitting persons aged 65 years or more, some people below the mandatory age can qualify if they meet certain conditions. Of particular importance to mention here are those people suffering from either end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But it’s also vital to add that, senior citizens who are already collecting their social security benefits or the Railroad Retirement Board bonuses automatically qualify.
In general, Part A covers:
1. Hospital Care or Inpatient Care – semi-private rooms, nursing services, food and drugs needed while still in the facility. Additionally, it qualifies for all inpatient care services accorded in long-term care hospital, mental health institutions, acute care hospitals, and critical access to medical centers.
2. Skilled Nursing Facility Care – on top of semi-private rooms, nursing services, food, and drugs needed while still in the facility, Part A include all medical supplies and emergency transportation in skilled nursing homes. Moreover, you may still benefit if the doctor decides that you need daily skilled nursing care.
3. Nursing care at home – it is also covered, albeit for a limited period. It is only applicable if you need skilled care, and covers more than just custodial care.
4. Hospice care – under this sub-category, Part A all doctor services, nursing, durable medical tools, all supplies and more, especially if you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live.
5. Home health care – all at-home skilled nursing, specialized therapy and when intermittent skilled nursing or therapeutic care is mandatory. It is still valid if you are sick but homebound.
Medicare Part A Costs
While many qualify for Medicare Part A with no premium, the beneficiary must have been in service for a minimum of 10 years or an equivalent of 40 quarters and paid Medicare taxes while in office. For those who can’t satisfy the clause, eligibility can still be real through deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance.
1. Automatic Enrolment
Senior citizens currently receiving their Social Security benefits or the Railroad Retirement Board qualify for the two parts A & B from the moment they hit age 65. Qualification can also be based on if one of the spouses already qualifies. And, aside from that, persons with disabilities also have a chance to be eligible under certain conditions.
2. Manual Enrolment
In some special cases like when one is diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, manual enrollment will come into play. During such instances, one will be required to contact Medicare overseeing authorities.
Initial Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period and Late Enrollment Penalties
Signing up can be done Online, by Phone or In-Person. Enrollment should start three months before turning 65 because failure to do so can result in penalization. Late enrollment penalty can be in the form of a higher premium payment. However, signing up can also be done during the annual General Enrollment Period (January 1st to March 31st).