What Does Medicare Cover?
WebMD Medical Reference
This is a general guide to what Medicare covers. To find out about specific things that Medicare covers, visit the Publications page at www.medicare.gov. Download "Your Medicare Benefits." You can also get a printed booklet by calling (800) MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
Medicare Part A
Most people don't have to pay a fee or premium for Medicare Part A. This is because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes when they were working. To get Part A free, you or a spouse must have worked for at least 40 "quarters." A quarter means one quarter of a year.
You will not get Part A free if
If you have to pay for Part A coverage, the fee in 2005 is $393 per month. If you or a spouse worked between 30 to 39 quarters, the cost is reduced to $206 per month.
Hospital stays are covered under Medicare Part A. This includes:
Skilled Nursing Facility Care
After a three-day related hospital stay:
Skilled nursing facility care is not the same as long-term nursing home care. Medicare Part A does not cover long-term nursing home care.
Home Health Care
Home health care benefits include:
All providers of Part A services must be certified by Medicare. If you go to a provider who is not Medicare certified, Medicare will not pay for the service. All Medicare certified providers accept Medicare and your share of costs as full payment.
Hospice care is for people with a terminal illness. It covers:
Hospice care is usually given at home, but Medicare will cover "respite care." Respite care is a short-term stay at a hospice facility. This gives the usual caregiver a chance to rest. Respite care may last up to five days at a time. There is no limit to how many periods of respite care hospice patients may have.
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