What Are Medicare Lifetime Reserve Days?

Medicare Bob
We’ll cover how many lifetime reserve days you’ll get as a Medicare beneficiary and how you can get more
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When it comes to Original Medicare, Part A can pay for long-term inpatient care for 90 days per benefit period. But what happens if you need more time? That’s where your Medicare lifetime reserve days come in.

Medicare Part A’s 90 days of inpatient care resets each benefit period, but the 60 lifetime reserve days do not reset. Medicare defines a hospital benefit period as starting the day you’re admitted as an inpatient. The benefit period ends after 60 consecutive days without hospital care.

Say, for example, as a hospital inpatient, you receive hospital care for 100 days. Medicare Part A can pay for 90 days, and you’ll use an additional 10 lifetime reserve days. When your hospital benefit period ends, the Medicare lifetime reserve days remaining are equal to 60 minus the reserve days used. So, if you did not use all 60 lifetime reserve days, you can use the balance on your next hospital stay.

After you use all remaining Medicare lifetime reserve days, Original Medicare will only cover 90 days of inpatient hospitalization per benefit period. Thus, with no remaining Medicare lifetime reserve days, you pay all hospital costs after 90 inpatient hospital days.

Let’s take a look at the Medicare Part A hospital coverage and cost.

Medicare Part A Coverage & Cost

Medicare Part A can cover your inpatient hospital care under the following conditions:

  • A doctor admits (written order) you as a hospital inpatient.

  • AND the hospital accepts Medicare.

For each hospital benefit period, Medicare Part A can cost you the following:

  • A $0 coinsurance for the first 60 hospital days, after paying the Part A deductible.

  • You start paying co-insurance between days 61 and 90. (Watch a video for the latest Part A coinsurance amount.)

  • If you have lifetime reserve days available, you pay a higher coinsurance after 90 days.

  • Beyond all lifetime reserve days, you pay all hospital costs.

Now let’s talk about how a Medigap plan — or Medicare Supplement — can extend your lifetime reserve days.

How Can I Extend My Medicare Lifetime Reserve Days?

All Medigap plans cover hospital coinsurance costs up to an additional 365 days beyond Original Medicare benefits.

In other words, the Original Medicare 60 lifetime reserve days increase by 365 days. Thus, a Medigap plan gives you a total of 425 lifetime reserve days.

Some Medicare Supplement plans cover part or all of the Part A hospital deductible. With certain Medigap Plans, you can avoid out-of-pocket costs every hospital benefit period.

Compare Medicare Supplement plans, and then call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711, to shop Medigap plans with a licensed agent.

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