Medicare Part A in California

California Medicare Part A, B, C and D offer enrollees different types of health insurance. Medicare Part A plans in California are the most common type as part of the Original Medicare plan. If you are wondering how much plans for Medicare Part A cost, you will first need to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for premium-free Medicare Plan A or if you will have a premium. Learning about the coverage provided by Part A Medicare is beneficial before enrolling in the program.

What is California Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A is also known as hospital insurance. Medicare Part A plans cover health care from hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care hospitals and hospices. However, Medicare Plan A also covers services necessary for treatment like laboratory tests, surgeries and doctor visits. Likewise, supplies like walkers and blood sugar testing strips are covered if used to treat a diagnosed condition.

Medicare Part A plans permit some home health services like physical and speech therapy. Beneficiaries should use providers approved by Medicare, as the insurance program has specific requirements to provide financial compensation for services. Likewise, the program may provide services in one environment but not another. For example, Medicare Plan A covers meals in a skilled nursing facility and inpatient hospital but will not send have meals delivered to the home who have residential health care.

For comprehensive information about Medicare Part A covered services, download our California guide here.

How to Enroll in Medicare Part A Plans in California

You will not need to apply to Medicare Part A if you are one of the beneficiaries of certain retirement or disability benefit programs. Medicare Part A plan enrollment is automatic if you are already in receipt of either Social Security retirement benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits at the time you meet Medicare eligibility age. Medicare Plan A enrollment is also automatic if you are in receipt of disability benefits from either of the aforementioned groups. Those automatically registered will receive notification letters a few months before their birthday month in which they will have coverage.

If you do need to enroll to a Medicare Part A plan, then the best time to sign up is as soon as you are eligible. Even if you have health insurance from your place of work, you can still benefit from Medicare Part A as additional health insurance that is often premium-free. Eligible residents who delay registration without valid reasons, like having coverage, are subject to late enrollment penalties.

When you are ready to enroll, there are three different ways you can submit your Medicare Plan A application. You can apply for Medicare in California by calling the Social Security office and making a convenient appointment for a phone interview. You can apply online at the Social Security’s website or you can visit your local office and submit your application in person.

To learn more about Medicare Part A plans, download our comprehensive guide.

What does Medicare Part A cost and cover in California?

Medicare Part A plans do not have a monthly premium for eligible enrollees. Those who do not qualify for Medicare Part A premium-free will have a monthly responsibility based on the number of calendar quarters worked. The premium cost for Medicare Part A are tiered into three brackets. Workers with eligible citizenship status who worked over 40 quarters receive Medicare Plan A sans premium. Those who worked 30 to 39 quarters are required to purchase Medicare Part A plans for a low and affordable fee, while those who work less than 30 hours will pay almost double. In most circumstances, if you are purchasing Part A, then you will also be required to purchase Part B. You will have to pay monthly premiums for both these plans.

The deductible for Medicare Part A is pertains to each benefit period. A benefit period ends after 60 consecutive days without inpatient care. Enrollees will need to pay this full amount before Medicare will share in the cost of medical care. Fortunately, once the Medicare Plan A deductible is met, the insurance covers the costs of the first 60 days of an inpatient hospital stay. After 60 days, you will have a coinsurance for each day of care until the 91st day. After 90 days, the coinsurance doubles for up to 60 days. These 60 days are “lifetime reserve days,” which do not reset each benefit period. After exhausting lifetime reserve days, you are responsible for all costs.

Medicare Part A costs for skilled nursing facility stays are different from inpatient stays. Rather than 60 initial days without coinsurance, a nursing facility stay is limited to 20 days. Coinsurance responsibility is available for stays over 21 days, until 100. After 100 day, you are responsible for al costs. Likewise, Medicare Part A costs for home health and hospice care varies.

For in-depth Medicare information and specific amounts, refer to our comprehensive guide.

What Are the Available Health Services in California?

Low-cost, and even free health benefits are available to a large number of California residents, with some being offered to low-income applicants and others being offered to elderly or disabled individuals. However, before you can access these health services, you need to submit the appropriate application and prove that you meet the necessary qualifications. To learn all about the different health benefits you can receive in California and the application procedures that you must undergo to obtain these benefits, download our free comprehensive guide.

Who Is Eligible to Obtain California Health Benefits?

California’s health programs have various eligibility requirements that applicants must meet in order to successfully enroll. Income, age and other factors are all taken into consideration in the eligibility verification process. Find out which health benefits you qualify for here.