Medicare Part A

Medicare is a government insurance health plan, and is the largest health insurance company in the United States. Currently, 40 million Americans participate in Medicare health insurance services. The Medicare insurance plan has 4 parts that offer unique coverage to individuals who qualify. To receive coverage, participants must meet certain requirements, such as U.S. citizenship. Individuals must meet an age requirement of 65 years or older, or less than 65 years old with certain disabilities.

Most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A if they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. If this is not the case, individuals can buy Part A coverage if certain requirements are met. If individuals want to buy Part A, in most cases, they are also required to buy Part B.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays. This includes semi-private rooms, meals, nursing, and other hospital supplies and services. Private-room nursing, televisions, and telephones are not included if the hospital charges extra for these amenities. Personal care items are not covered. Individuals must stay in the hospital at least 72 hours to receive coverage.

Home health services are also covered under Part A. Individuals must be homebound to qualify, which means they should find it difficult to leave their homes. A doctor has to order home health services. The plan covers skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and continual occupational therapy. Medicare-certified home health agencies must provide the care. They can also provide medical supplies for home use, medical equipment, and home aid services.

Hospice care is provided for people who are terminally ill. A doctor must inform Medicare that an individual is expected to live 6 months or less. Hospices that are certified by Medicare can give hospice care at a person’s home or a qualified facility. Coverage includes medication for pain relief, medical, nursing, and social services. Grief counseling is not covered.

Respite care is also covered under Medicare Part A. An individuals can receive care from Medicare-approved facilities so their caregiver can have time to rest. A person is allowed to stay up to 5 days per respite care visit. Other health problems that are not related to the patient’s terminal illness are covered as well.

Medical care in a skilled nursing facility is also covered. This includes rehabilitation administered by certified skilled nurses, semi-private rooms, and meals. These services are only covered with a minimum of 72 hours of inpatient stay. Doctors must declare that individuals need skilled daily care in order to qualify. Long-term or custodial care is not covered in a skilled nursing facility.

The blood that is used in blood transfusions is also covered under Medicare Part A. The hospital gets its blood from blood banks free of charge. If for some reason the hospital has to buy blood for you, you will have to either pay the hospital costs or have the blood donated.