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How much does Medicare Part A pay for hospital costs?


Medicare Part A covers inpatient stays in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, some home care and end-of-life hospice care.

After you pay the Part A deductible, Medicare pays the full cost of covered hospital services for the first 60 days of each benefit period when you’re an inpatient, which means you’re admitted to the hospital and not for observational care. Part A also pays a portion of the costs for longer hospital stays.

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First, what is a benefit period?

A benefit period begins the day you’re admitted to a hospital as an inpatient or become a patient in a skilled nursing facility. It ends when you’ve been out of the hospital or skilled nursing facility for 60 consecutive days.

The designation as an inpatient is important. You can be lying in a hospital bed but be classified as under observation, or you can be occupying a bed in an outpatient surgery center. Neither counts toward inpatient status. Check with the hospital while you’re there to get clarification on your status.

You pay a single deductible even if you have more than one hospital stay during a benefit period. But be aware that you may pay more than one deductible in a calendar year; that could be different from private insurance plans you’ve had through work.

What hospital services does Part A cover?

If you’re admitted as an inpatient to a hospital that accepts Medicare, Medicare Part A covers most hospital services, such as:

  • A semiprivate room and meals.
  • General nursing services.
  • Drugs, supplies and other hospital services that are part of your inpatient treatment.
  • Some blood transfusions.

Part A doesn’t pay for some hospital services, such as a private room unless medically necessary. It also won't pay for personal items — such as razors or socks — unless provided to all patients at no additional charge. Physicians’ fees in the hospital are usually covered under Medicare Part B, rather than Part A.

How much do I pay for Part A hospital costs?

Your costs under Part A depend on the number of days you spend as an inpatient in the hospital during each benefit period. You pay a portion of the cost, called coinsurance, for each day you are in the hospital beyond 60 days in each benefit period. 

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You pay:

  • Nothing additional for the first 60 days of covered inpatient care each benefit period after you pay the $1,600 Part A deductible in 2023, which rises to $1,632 in 2024.
  • $400 a day for days 61 to 90 for each benefit period in 2023, increasing to $408 in 2024
  • $800 a day for up to 60 lifetime reserve days in 2023; $816 in 2024. Each lifetime reserve day can be used only once but can apply to different benefit periods.
  • All costs beyond 90 days per benefit period if you use up your lifetime reserve days.

If you buy a Medicare supplement policy, known as Medigap, or have other coverage like retiree health insurance, that supplemental policy may cover the Part A deductible and hospital coinsurance and also allow for additional lifetime reserve days.

Keep in mind 

You’ll receive a Medicare summary notice every calendar quarter that you have Medicare claims, similar to an explanation of benefits for private insurance. It shows information about your claims and the amount you may be billed.

The summary notice also shows how much of the deductible you’ve paid and the date your benefit period began. You can access this information more frequently if you set up an online Medicare account, previously known as a MyMedicare account.

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