What is Medicare Part A?

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Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) is coverage that helps pay for:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care

What is Premium-Free Part A?

Part A is sometimes called “premium-free Part A” because most people do not have to pay a monthly premium for this coverage. To become eligible for premium-free Part A, you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for a certain amount of time while working.

For those that are under 65 years old, another way to acquire premium-free Part A is by earning Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for two years. Those that are over 65 and get retirement benefits — or are eligible to receive these benefits but have yet to file for them — from these systems can also get premium-free Part A. Likewise, retired 65-year-olds can also qualify for premium-free Part A if they (or their spouse) had Medicare-covered government employment.

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Part A Premiums

If you are not eligible for premium-free Part A, you can still purchase Part A by paying a monthly premium. The amount you pay each month depends on how long you (or your spouse) have worked and paid Medicare taxes. In 2023, the standard Part A premium will be either $278 or $506 depending on these work credits. If you choose not to purchase Part A, you can still get Part B by enrolling and paying the monthly Part B premium. Typically, if you choose to enroll in Part A, you are also required to also enroll in and pay the monthly premium for Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance).

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