Medicare Part A, also called “original Medicare,” is the insurance plan that covers hospital stays and services. It also covers stays in skilled nursing facilities, walkers and wheelchairs, and hospice care. It even covers home healthcare services if you’re unable to get to a hospital or skilled nursing facility. If you need a blood transfusion, Part A covers the cost of the blood.
Medicare Part A covers hospital inpatient costs. However, just because you visit a hospital doesn’t mean that you’re an inpatient. An overnight stay doesn’t mean you’re an inpatient either.
Difference between inpatient and outpatient
You’re an inpatient when you’re formally admitted to a hospital with a doctor’s order. You’re an outpatient if you receive any type of hospital services without being formally admitted to a hospital with a doctor’s order. This may include emergency services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, and X-rays. In these cases, you’re an outpatient even if you stay overnight at the hospital. Make sure you know if you’re an inpatient or outpatient, as this will affect your coverage.
Also, Medicare Part A will only cover a skilled nursing facility if you have a qualifying inpatient hospital stay — three consecutive days resulting from a formal inpatient admission order written by your doctor.
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