| Original Medicare, the federal insurance program included in the bill that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law in 1965, includes Part A and Part B.
These two parts of Medicare can cover many of your health care costs, but they still leave gaps.
What hospital services won’t Part A pay for?
Part A covers a variety of hospital costs, including a semiprivate room and meals, general nursing services and drugs, supplies and hospital services that are part of your inpatient treatment. However, Part A doesn’t cover the following:
- A private room in a hospital or skilled nursing center, unless it’s medically necessary
- The first three pints of blood, unless the hospital gets it from a blood bank at no charge, you arrange to replace it through donating your own or somebody else’s blood, or you have additional insurance such as Medigap that covers this cost
- Hiring your own nurse, also called private-duty nursing care
- Personal items such as razors or slipper socks, unless provided to all patients at no extra charge
- A television or telephone in your room if either is a separate charge
What hospital costs does Part B cover instead?
Some hospital-related services that you might expect Part A to pay for are instead covered through Medicare Part B. They include:
- Physicians’ services, including anesthetists, hospitalists, surgeons and other doctors in a medical center or a skilled nursing facility. Hospitalists, doctors who don’t see patients in an office-based practice but instead deliver care in a hospital, are a growing specialty. By 2018, more than three-quarters of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries had received at least some care from a hospitalist, compared with fewer than half 10 years earlier, according to a study released in March 2022.