To be eligible for premium-free Part A, an individual must be entitled to receive Medicare based on their own earnings or those of a spouse, parent, or child. To receive premium-free Part A, the worker must have a specified number of quarters of coverage (QCs) and file an application for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits. The exact number of QCs required is dependent on whether the person is filing for Part A on the basis of age, disability, or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). QCs are earned through payment of payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) during the person’s working years. Most individuals pay the full FICA tax so the QCs they earn can be used to meet the requirements for both monthly Social Security benefits and premium-free Part A.
Medicare Part A: Hospital Care and Services
The Social Security Administration handles Medicare enrollment. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B if you’re 65 and receive Social Security checks. Typically, you’ll get your Medicare card three months before your 65th birthday. If you have private health insurance, it likely makes sense to sign up for Medicare Part A because it will provide you with additional coverage at no extra cost. However, you may wish to delay signing up for Part B coverage — for which there is a monthly premium — if your private insurance provides adequate coverage for outpatient medical services. To avoid paying a higher premium, you need to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period should you ultimately lose your private coverage.
Medicare Part A Overview: Coverage and Premiums
Hospice care is for the terminally ill who are expected to have six months or less to live. Coverage includes pain-relief and symptom-control prescription drugs, medical and support services, grief counseling, and other services. Care is provided by a Medicare-approved hospice provider who will visit you at your home. Medicare also provides additional care for a hospice patient so that the usual caregiver can take a time of rest. Medicare may not cover all services that are provided to patients who receive hospice assistance.
Medicare Plans & Coverage: Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D
To be eligible for Medicare, one must be a legal permanent resident for the past five years or a U.S. citizen 65 years or older, or younger with a qualifying disability. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you can contact the Social Security Administration office to learn if you would be eligible.
What does Medicare Part A Cover?
Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
Medicare.gov: the official U.S. government site for Medicare