Medicare is the United States’ federal healthcare program that covers all people over age 65, certain people younger than age 65 who are disabled and people who have permanent kidney failure. Medicare coverage has four different components, called “parts,” and each part pays for different medical services and other benefits. If you’re approaching age 65 or have another condition that may make you eligible for Medicare coverage, it’s important to understand what the different parts do — and don’t — provide.
Medicare Part A covers services related to hospitalization and inpatient care. If a doctor admits you into a hospital for treatment, this care is covered for 90 days per benefit period. The benefit period “resets” once you’ve been out of the hospital for 60 days or longer. Medicare-covered services that you can receive in the hospital include your stay in a semi-private room, meals, general nursing care that you receive from the staff, drugs involved in your treatment and other necessary services and supplies the hospital may provide. This portion of Medicare also covers time you spend receiving care in a psychiatric hospital.
If you need care in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, Medicare Part A covers 100 days each benefit period. Hospice care for terminal illnesses and home health care are also covered. Overall, this part of Medicare covers care you receive in acute-care hospitals, critical-access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, inpatient psychiatric facilities, long-term care hospitals and hospital stays that you undergo while participating in a qualifying clinical research study.