As one of two major components to Original Medicare, Medicare Part A offers hospital insurance to Florida residents who are eligible for the Medicare program. Part A provides inpatient care in hospitals, certain services in skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and home health care.
How do Florida residents become eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A?
Medicare Part A is part of a national insurance program that is offered to all individuals age 65 and above, who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents of five years or more, including those in the state of Florida. Florida residents under the age of 65 may also qualify for Medicare Part A due to a qualifying illness or disability.
Most Florida Medicare beneficiaries are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A when they are first eligible. For Florida residents who are eligible but have not yet received their Medicare card in the mail, they may have to fill out an application for Medicare Part A.
What coverage does Medicare Part A offer?
Medicare Part A covers a variety of different services for eligible Florida Medicare beneficiaries, including:
- Inpatient care during stays in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long term care), and Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institutions
- Medically necessary hospice and home health care services
- Blood transfusions after the first three pints of blood in a calendar year have been paid out-of-pocket or through donation
Please note that staying overnight in a hospital does not automatically provide inpatient status. Florida Medicare beneficiaries are only considered an inpatient when they are formally admitted to a hospital under the direct order of a doctor. Medicare Part A only covers certain services received as an inpatient, not an outpatient.
Are there any costs associated with Medicare Part A?
Many Florida Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to receive premium-free Part A. They are not required to pay a monthly Part A premium because they have paid Medicare taxes while working for ten years (40 quarters) or more. There may be copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that apply for each Part A-covered service that will need to be paid either out-of-pocket or through other insurance coverage.
Those who are not eligible to receive premium-free Part A can still purchase Medicare Part A if they meet the general Part A eligibility requirements. In 2012, the premium amount for Florida residents who purchase Part A is $451. Please note that Florida residents who choose to buy Part A must also have Medicare Part B and pay premiums for both.
When should eligible Florida residents sign up for Medicare Part A?
For Florida residents who are not eligible for premium-free Part A and do not buy it when they are first eligible, their monthly premium would increase by 10%. The Medicare Part A late enrollment penalty would apply for twice the number of years they could have enrolled in Part A, but opted not to sign up. Florida residents with a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Medicare Part A are generally excused from the Part A late enrollment penalty.
Florida Medicare beneficiaries should consider getting additional Medicare coverage after enrolling in Original Medicare. Not all health care costs are covered by Part A and Part B; hence, eligible beneficiaries have the option to enroll in a private health insurance plan to get additional health benefits (Medicare Advantage plans), prescription drug coverage (Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans or Medicare Part D plans), or coverage to fill in the gaps in Original Medicare coverage (Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans ).