Many Americans mistakenly assume that Medicare offers guaranteed coverage for every single medical expense. While Medicare is hugely beneficial, it simply doesn’t cover everything you need. That is where Medicare Advantage plans come to the rescue. If you’re considering purchasing a Medical Advantage plan, it’s important to know the details and limitations of your coverage. This way, you’ll never be surprised by medical bills you thought were covered.
One of the most important factors to consider is hospital coverage. The average length of a hospital stay in the United States in 2018 was 5.7 days. And the average cost per inpatient day for hospitals was $2,260. This means the average American that landed in the hospital incurred a bill of around $12,882. Medicare covers some parts of hospital coverage, but you’ll still have to pay some of your bill, as well as premiums and deductibles. So, is Medicare Advantage your answer? Keep reading to find out if Medicare Advantage covers unlimited days in the hospital.
How Many Hospital Days Does Regular Medicare Cover?
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part A, and you spend more than two nights in a hospital, you’ll have the following schedule for your coverage and fees:
- You’ll pay an initial deductible for your benefit period. All charges beyond this deductible are covered for this benefit period. As of 2021, the deductible is $1,484.
- You will not pay any coinsurance for days 1-60 of a hospital stay (during one benefit period).
- From days 61-90, you’ll need to pay a coinsurance of $371 daily.
- As of day 91, you’ll start to dip into your lifetime reserve days. You will need to pay $742 for each lifetime reserve day. You only have 60 lifetime reserve days to use in a lifetime (as the name implies).
- Once you run out of lifetime reserve days, you pay all hospital charges. As mentioned earlier, this could be as much as $2,260 per day.
Additionally, approximately 40% of people with Medicare require acute care after a hospital stay. This type of care also has deductible and co-pay limitations, with a cap at day 100. From day 101 and beyond, the patient will receive no more coverage from their Medicare.
Does Medicare Advantage Cover Unlimited Days in the Hospital?
If the above coverage seems thin to you, it’s likely time you consider a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans are Medicare top-ups offered by private insurance companies. These plans are meant to cover the gaps in traditional Medicare plans.
So, can you have unlimited hospital stays covered through Medicare Advantage?
Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on what insurance provider and plan you select. Medicare Advantage usually covers all the same hospital insurance benefits individuals receive in their Medicare Part A plan. This includes inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, and home healthcare in some instances.
Many Medicare Advantage plans limit the number of days covered for inpatient hospital care. Usually, this is a very generous number, such as 270 days.
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for unlimited days in the hospital.
Usually, your Medicare Advantage plan will require you to pay a copayment for a specific number of days, after which no copayment is required.
When you’re comparing Medicare Advantage plans, it’s essential to consider these details and decide on a plan that best fits your needs. You can always reach out to providers to ask them for more information about hospital coverage.