Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient stays in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, some home health services and end-of-life hospice care. Even though most people don’t pay premiums for Medicare Part A, the coverage still has other out-of-pocket costs.
- A deductible, which you must pay for each benefit period you're hospitalized, not each year.
- A coinsurance, a set fee you pay if you're hospitalized or in skilled nursing care for a long time.
- A premium, the plan’s monthly bill if you don’t qualify for free Part A.
- A late fee for Part A if you must pay for Part A but didn’t sign up at the proper time.
What are the Medicare Part A premiums?
Most people get Part A for free in retirement because they or their spouse had Medicare taxes deducted from their paychecks for at least 40 quarters of work. That’s the equivalent of 10 years or more.
Someone who has worked an entire year is credited with four quarters. But the 40 quarters total don’t need to be consecutive.
If you or your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for fewer than 40 quarters, you'll have to pay premiums to receive Medicare Part A coverage. In 2023 and 2024, if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for 30 to 39 quarters, you’ll pay $278 a month for Part A. If you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for fewer than 30 quarters, you’ll pay $506 a month for Part A in 2023 and $505 in 2024.
How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part A?
People who qualify for premium-free Part A won’t have a Part A penalty although they may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part B. If you must buy Part A, you may have a late enrollment penalty of 10 percent of your current Part A premiums for twice the number of years you didn’t sign up.