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What Is Medicare Part A Versus Medicare Part B?

In general, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, while Medicare Part B covers doctors’ services, outpatient care, and preventive care. Eligibility is determined by age (65 or over), disability, or a diagnosis of End-Stage Renal Disease.

Medicare Part A Premiums

One important difference between Medicare Part A versus Medicare Part B is the fact that enrollment in Medicare Part A is automatic, and doesn’t require the payment of any additional premium.

Medicare Part A Coverage

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays of 3 days or more, some nursing home stays, and critical access hospitals. Nursing home care is generally required to be relative to diagnosis during a hospital stay (such as rehabilitation after an injury. The total bill will not be covered; you will incur a co-pay. Home health services and hospice care may also be covered.

Medicare Part B Premiums

You have to enroll in Medicare Part B, and pay a monthly premium. Medicare will send you a letter notifying you of your eligibility with enrollment instructions. If you don’t enroll when you first become eligible, you will pay a higher premium if you later decide to enroll. Premiums are usually deducted from your monthly check.

Medicare Part B Coverage

Another important difference between Medicare Part A versus Medicare Part B is coverage. Medicare Part B covers doctor visits, tests, screenings, preventive care, and some home medical equipment.


Medicare doesn’t pay everything; even with both plans, you will still be responsible for a co-payment (currently around 20% of the total bill). Some Medicare beneficiaries qualify for help with their Medicare premiums. These programs are administered by your state, and eligibility standards may vary in different states.

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