Medicare Part A Costs in 2019

How to Budget Your Health Expenses

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced Medicare costs for 2019. Everyone, regardless of their income, will be subjected to increases in out of pocket spending. Use these numbers to guide your healthcare expenses in the new year.

Part A Premiums

Medicare Part A is premium-free for 99 percent of Americans. This is because most people have paid into the system for years with employee taxes for both Medicare and Social Security. If someone has not contributed 40 quarters (10 years) or more of Medicare taxes, however, they will be required to pay premiums for Medicare as follows.

Quarters of Medicare Taxes Paid Your 2019 Costs Change from 2018
40 quarters or more $0 per month No change
30-39 quarters

$240 per month

$2,880 per year

$5 increase per month

$60 increase per year

Less than 30 quarters

$437 per month

$5,244 per year

$15 increase per month

$180 increase per year

2019 Part A Premiums

It is in your best interest to work up to 40 quarters if possible. This could mean delaying your retirement until you have met enough quarters of federally taxed employment. If you work 40 or more quarters, it could save you tens of thousands of dollars in Part A premiums over your lifetime. This could have a significant impact on your ability to retire comfortably.

The good news is that if you have not worked 40 quarters yourself, you may qualify for free Part A premiums based on your spouse's employment history. This applies as long as you are married or you remain single after divorcing someone you were married to for at least 10 years. You may be eligible to use your spouse's record if you are widowed too. The only rule is that you remain single and were married to your spouse for at least 9 months before they passed away. The rules for ​people who remarry can get a little tricky.

Please note that any money you earn "under the table" will not count towards your eligibility for free Part A premiums since there are no documented taxes.

Part A Deductibles and Copayments

Hospital costs and skilled nursing facility costs, not surprisingly, are on the rise. In 2018, the average monthly rate for a semi-private room is $7,441. For a private room, the cost goes up to $8,365. That's $89,297 and $100,375 per year respectively. If you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts or New York expect to pay more. These are the most expensive states for nursing home care in the country.

A flat deductible rate is charged for each inpatient admission, this includes coverage for​ inpatient only surgeries. This deductible covers all costs up to 60 days with the exception of physician fees which are covered by Part B. After 60 days, you are charged a copayment for each additional day you are hospitalized.

Day of Inpatient Hospital Care Your 2019 Costs Change from 2018
Inpatient hospital deductible days 0-60

$1,364 per hospital stay

$24 total increase

Inpatient hospital copayment days 61-90

$341 per day

$6 per day increase

Inpatient hospital copayment days 91+

$682 per day

$12 per day increase

2019 Part A Inpatient Hospital Stay Costs

There has never been a deductible for the first 20 days of care received at a skilled nursing facility stay (SNF) immediately following an inpatient hospital stay. Things can get tricky here because some people are placed under observation rather than admitted as an inpatient. Simply staying overnight in the hospital does not make you an inpatient.

Day of SNF Care Your 2019 Costs Change from 2018
SNF days 0-20 $0 No change
SNF days 21-100 $170.50 per day

$3 per day increase

SNF days 100+ All costs paid out of pocket by beneficiary No change
2019 Part A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Costs

The bad news is that Medicare does not pay for care that is not associated with a hospital stay. People in need of long-term care will need to find another way to pay for a nursing home. For that reason, many seniors also need to sign up for Medicaid.

A Word from Verywell

If you are lucky, you will never need to use Medicare Part A. You would never need hospitalization, you would never need a skilled nursing facility and you would never need hospice care. Ultimately, it is important to have this coverage should you ever need it and to know how much it would cost.

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