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Part A


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Medicare Part A is your hospital health plan. It helps pay for hospital visits and other hospital-related care. You're automatically added into Part A — at no charge — when you start Original Medicare.

Watch this video to learn about signing up for Medicare Part A.


Medicare A helps pay for inpatient hospital care for up to 90 days per benefit period. You can also have up to 60 "lifetime reserve" days that can be used after day 90 of a benefit period. A benefit period ends when a member has not been in a hospital or a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) for more than 60 consecutive days. You can also have multiple benefit periods within the same year.

Here's how Part A can help when you need care:

Place Covered


  • Semi-private rooms
  • Meals
  • Certain services


Skilled Nursing Facility

Up to 100 days in a benefit period



  • Hospice Care — Costs linked to terminal sickness, plus:
    • Drugs
    • Health and support services like grief counseling
  • Other Medicare Payments — Costs not linked to terminal sickness

You and Social Security

If you're not getting monthly Social Security checks, and aren't a Railroad retiree, you'll need to sign up for Medicare Part A. Remember to talk with Social Security three months before turning age 65 or the month you turn 65.

Social Security: 1-800-772-1213
Social Security TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Railroad Retirees: 1-800-808-0772
Railroad Retirees TTY: 1-312-751-4701

U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.