There are four basic parts of Medicare: A, B, C, and D. Each part helps pay for certain medical services. Here are 5 things to know about Part A:

#1  Part A is one of two parts of what is considered “Original Medicare”. (Part B is the other).
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#2  Most people don’t have to pay a premium for Part A. They’ve already paid into the system in the form of the Medicare tax deductions in their paycheck if they (or their spouse) worked at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) in the U.S.

#3  Medicare Part A helps cover the costs of inpatient care in the hospital, short-term skilled nursing facilities, home health care, and hospice care.

#4  Benefit periods apply. These benefit periods measure the use of inpatient hospital and skilled nursing facility services. Medicare will stop paying for your inpatient-related hospital or skilled nursing facility costs (such as room and board) if you run out of days during your benefit period.

#5  Most people either add a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan or they opt to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Both of these options in different ways can serve to limit liability, extend benefit periods, and cover some out of pocket costs (like deductible and coinsurance) associated with Medicare Part A.

You can read more about Medicare Part A covered services in this Medicare Minute Newsletter courtesy of the Medicare Rights Center.