Part A (hospital insurance)
Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient hospital care.
If you've worked in the United States and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters (about 10 years), your Part A coverage is free. If you don't qualify for free Part A, you can purchase Part A coverage from the government.
Some people who are already receiving Social Security benefits are automatically enrolled. Others need to apply through Social Security when they become eligible for Medicare.
When to enroll
If you aren't automatically enrolled in Part A, you can enroll:
- When you first become eligible, by age, disability, or other criteria. This Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) lasts 7 months.
- During the annual General Enrollment Period for Medicare Parts A and B: January 1 through March 31 each year. Coverage starts July 1.
Part A covers
- Inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals
- Skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care)
- Hospice care
- Home health care services
Part A does not cover
- Non-skilled or custodial services including assistance in Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
- Benefits that are covered under Medicare Part B
Learn about Medicare health plans for group, state, and federal employees
If you are becoming eligible for Medicare and your employer offers a group retiree Medicare Advantage health plan through Kaiser Permanente Washington, call us at 1-800-581-8252 or TTY WA Relay 711 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
PEBB and FEHB members can also find information online:
- PEBB (Public Employees Benefits Board) Program health plans
- FEHB (Federal Employees Health Benefits) Program health plans
Key Medicare enrollment dates
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
October 15 through December 7
Medicare Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)
65th birthday month + 3 months before and after
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
January 1 through March 31
Medicare Star Quality Ratings
Our Medicare Advantage health plan in Washington was rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars for 2019. Our 4.5 out of 5 Star rating is based on quality, service, and member satisfaction, so you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're getting high-quality care. 1