The Medicare program is made up of several parts. Medicare Part A together with Medicare Part B make up what’s referred to as original Medicare.

Part A is considered hospital insurance. It helps to cover some of your costs at various medical and healthcare facilities when you’re admitted as an inpatient. Some people will be automatically enrolled in Part A when they become eligible. Others will have to sign up for it through the Social Security Administration.

Most people who have Part A won’t have to pay a premium. However, there are other costs, such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance you may have to pay if you need hospital care.

Here is what you need to know about the premiums and other costs related to Medicare Part A.

Most people who enroll in Medicare Part A will not pay a monthly premium. This is called premium-free Medicare Part A.

You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you:

  • have paid Medicare taxes for 40 or more quarters during your life
  • are age 65 or older and eligible for or currently collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) retirement benefits
  • are under age 65 and eligible to collect Social Security or RRB disability benefits
  • are any age and have received a diagnosis of end stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Medicare Part A premiums are based on the number of quarters an individual has paid Medicare taxes prior to enrolling in Medicare. Medicare taxes are part of the withholding taxes collected from every paycheck you receive.

If you haven’t worked a total of 40 quarters (or 10 years), here is how much the Part A premium will cost in 2022:

Total quarters you paid Medicare taxes2022 Part A monthly premium
40 or more$0
< 30$499

When you enroll in Part A, you’ll receive a Medicare card in the mail. If you have Part A coverage, your Medicare card will say “HOSPITAL” and have a date when your coverage is effective. You can use this card to receive any services that are covered by Part A.

FAQ: Do you need to enroll in Medicare Part B if you enroll in Part A?

When you enroll in Part A, you will also need to enroll in Part B. Medicare Part B covers outpatient healthcare services like doctor’s appointments.

You will pay a separate monthly premium for this coverage. The standard Part B premium amount in 2022 is $170.10, and most people who have Part B will pay this amount.

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Whether you pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Part A or not, there are other costs associated with Part A as well. These costs will vary depending on things like the type of facility you’re admitted to and the length of your stay.

These additional out-of-pocket costs may include:

  • Deductibles. Deductibles are the amount you need to pay before Part A starts covering the costs of your care.
  • Copays. Copayments, or copays, are a fixed amount that you have to pay for a medical item or service.
  • Coinsurance. Coinsurance fees are the percentage that you pay for services after you’ve met your deductible.

Inpatient hospital care

Here’s how each of these costs factor into a hospital stay in 2022:

Length of stayYour cost
deductible to meet for each benefit period$1,556
days 1–60 $0 daily coinsurance
days 61–90 $389 daily coinsurance
day 91 and beyond
(you can use up to 60 lifetime reserve days)
$778 daily coinsurance
after all lifetime reserve days have been usedall costs

Skilled nursing facility care

Skilled nursing facilities provide rehabilitation care such as skilled nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other services to help patients recover from injury and illness.

Medicare Part A covers the cost of care in a skilled nursing facility; however, there are costs you will have to pay as well. Here is what you’ll pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility during each benefit period in 2022:

Length of stayYour cost
days 1–20$0
days 21–100$194.50 daily coinsurance
day 101 and beyondall costs

FAQ: Will I pay a penalty if I don’t enroll in Part A as soon as I’m eligible?

If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A and choose not to buy it when you are first able to enroll in Medicare, you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty. This can cause your monthly premium to increase by up to 10 percent for each year you do not enroll in Medicare Part A after you are eligible.

You’ll pay this increased premium for twice the amount of years that you were eligible for Part A, but didn’t sign up for it. For example, if you enroll 3 years after you were eligible, you’ll pay an increased premium for 6 years.

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Medicare Part A covers inpatient stays, such as those at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Together with Part B, these parts make up original Medicare.

Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A, but there are other costs associated with Part A that you may be required to pay like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.