Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance portion of Medicare. Part A covers the basic services you need as part of your stay in the hospital. This includes a semi-private room, meals, general nursing services and medication. Any hospital services and supplies required by inpatient care are also covered.
Inpatient stays include many different facilities, such as critical care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals.
Medicare does not pay for long-term inpatient custodial care such as a stay in a nursing home.
For persons who have religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving medical treatment, Part A also provides for inpatient care. The coverage is limited to non-medical, non-religious health care items and services at a religious non-medical health care institution.
There is coverage for skilled nursing facilities for services related to illness or injury. This coverage is approved after a minimum three-day inpatient stay at a hospital. A doctor must certify that you need daily skilled care. For example, you require skilled care if you need intravenous injections or physical therapy.
Hospice care is also covered. For coverage, you must have a terminal illness and your doctor must certify that you life expectancy is six months or less. Hospice care does not have to be at an inpatient facility. It can be provided at home. For home hospice care, Medicare Part A allows for five days of respite for the caregivers.
Finally, there is coverage for some home health care. Home health care is limited to medically necessary services. These services include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy. The care must be ordered by a doctor, be provided a Medicare-certified home health agency and required on a part-time, intermittent basis.
You receive Medicare Part A automatically if you, or your spouse, have paid Medicare taxes. This article has been about Medicare Part A coverage.