The Parts of Medicare
What is Part A? What Does Part A Cover?
Part A is hospital insurance that assists you with the cost of inpatient care and skilled nursing facility stays. It also helps with things like hospice and home health care. In general, you should think of the inpatient hospital benefit as Medicare coverage for room and board in the hospital.
It covers the cost of your semi-private room. Part A does NOT cover many of the actual treatments that might occur, such as scans or surgeries. Those fall under Part B.
The cost of Part A for most people at age 65 is $0. This is because during your working years you have paid taxes to pre-fund the premiums for your hospital benefits. If you don’t automatically qualify for premium-free coverage, most individuals can still apply for it. You’ll pay a hefty monthly premium to get it though.
What is Medicare Part B?
Medicare Part B is your outpatient medical coverage Part B covers essentially all of your other coverage outside of your inpatient hospital fees. Without Part B, you would be uninsured for doctor’s visits (including doctors who treat you in the hospital). You would also not have Medicare coverage for lab work, preventive services, and surgeries.
More importantly, Part B covers cancer therapy and kidney dialysis. These are extremely expensive items that would cost a fortune without supplemental coverage?
The cost of Part B is set by Social Security and it changes from year to year. Individuals in higher income brackets pay more than those in lower incomes brackets. How much you pay is determined by your adjusted gross income reported to the IRS in recent years.