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Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only?

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only? - Medicare Graphic

Just the essentials...

  • Older Americans qualified for Social Security benefits can sign up for Medicare

  • Eligible persons can choose Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage

  • Eligible older Americans can join Medicare and select Medicare Part A only

  • The initial enrollment period is the best time to select complete Medicare coverage

The first eligible enrollment period when applicants first become eligible for Medicare is an important time. It is the period when they can get access to every Medicare program without regard to health and other conditions.

After the initial open enrollment, applicants that select Part B Medical Insurance will have to pay a late enrollment fee.

After the initial Medigap enrollment period, Medicare rules permit private sellers to use medical information to price, accept, or deny coverage.

Comparison shopping will help subscribers compare Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. It is an excellent tool for rating Medicare Advantage and Medigap insurance plans.

Looking for Medicare coverage? Enter your zip code above for a free quote!

Medicare Part A

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only? - Medicare Diagram

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. For most applicants, it does not require a premium payment. Many people sign for Medicare A alone, it is permissible to do so.

One common question: is it wise only to take part A? There are four parts to Medicare offering the three basic services listed below.

The federal government administers three parts (Medicare A, B, and D), and private companies provide insurance plans in Part C Medicare Advantage. Private companies also provide Medigap coverage to supplement Original Medicare.

The below-listed items are the major Medicare programs.

  • Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance benefit.
  • Medicare Part B is the coverage for medical services.
  • Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is comprehensive health insurance from private providers with prescription options.
  • Medicare Part D contains standalone prescription drug coverage.
  • Medigap is cost supplement coverage for Original Medicare.

Original Medicare

The Original Medicare consists of Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B, medical insurance. It offers essential health benefits and exceeds minimum coverage.

Original Medicare meets the requirements for qualified health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Original Medicare offers freedom to users to select doctors, specialists, and hospitals. They can use any medical provider that accepts Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans can offer more benefits and possibly cost less.

Medicare Advantage plans sometimes restrict the choices to in-network doctors and hospitals. Some may permit outside resources but at higher costs to the consumer.

Costs of Original Medicare

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only?

Medicare offers an online worksheet to calculate the insurance premium for Medicare Part B Medical Insurance.

As of 2020, high-income beneficiaries making $87,000per year (taxed income as an individual) may pay more. The Congressional formula for rates was not affected by the Affordable Care Act.

The calculator provides the exact figures. Medicare pays on a cost-sharing basis. There are also gaps in payment coverage between Medicare and provider.

Consumers must pay these amounts as copays, coinsurance, or costs sharing. They are out-of-pocket costs subject to overall annual limitations.

Controlling Costs

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only?

Original Medicare offers discounts for prescription drugs and programs to drive down costs by using effective generics in place of specialty and brand-name upper tier drugs when feasible.

The Original Medicare does not have a prescription drug insurance benefit. Medicare Part D offers this protection as do some Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies.

The Affordable Care Act added funding to reduce the impact of the Donut Hole on prescription drugs by 2020.

Comprehensive Medicare Coverage

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only?

One way to look at Part A only enrollment is to compare Part A to comprehensive coverage. Part A covers hospital costs. These include home nursing, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and hospital stays.

It covers medical services like surgery, labs tests, and doctor consultation and supplies needed to treat a disease or medical condition.

Part B covers medical insurance for all of the medical services that do not involve hospitalization or nursing home care. Medicare Advantage offers the coverage of Parts A and B and the Prescription Drug benefits of Part D.

Initial Enrollment Period

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only?

The initial enrollment period for Medicare and Social Security is an important time. Applicants can select any option available and get the best terms on some services like Medigap.

If they do not use the initial enrollment period, then they face late penalties. With Original Medicare, a person selecting Part A only would pay a penalty based on each month that passes before they selected Part B.

The late fee applies to every month of Part B coverage after that. While it may be a relatively small monthly amount, it does not go away.

Late Enrollment

Part B is a vital part of Medicare protection. It is insurance for medical services. The late enrollment fee is about ten percent of the premium based on a 12-month lateness.

After declining to join during the first signup enrollment, the subscriber must pay the late enrollment fee for the duration of Part B coverage.

The onset of coverage also waits for several months to begin. There is a late enrollment aspect to Medigap insurance supplement.

The first sign-up period for Medigap begins with the month of the 65th birthday. It runs for six months.

Medigap eligibility depends on having Medicare Part B, the six-month window after Part B is the primary open enrollment period.

It offers an easy way to buy the coverage. Outside of the Medigap open enrollment period, sellers can charge more or deny coverage.

Obamacare Reforms

Can you sign up for Medicare Part A only? - Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act reformed the insurance industry so that private insurers must meet standards for coverage and value. The Affordable Care Act added essential health benefits and many prevention and wellness features.

The result is that Medicare users can get a lot of new or additional services each year at no costs to them.

These extra benefits include consultations, wellness visits, screenings, examinations, lab work, and tests.

The goal of the essential benefits is to have more early detection of diseases before they grow into more severe conditions.

Medicare A Meets the Mandate

Medicare A is a good way to start with Medicare protection if there are other resources for medical insurance. Medicare Part A meets the individual mandate.

Original Medicare will meet the requirements of qualified health insurance under Obamacare and avoid the Individual Shared Responsibility penalty.

Medicare Part B alone will not meet the requirements of the ACA.

Comparison shopping is an excellent tool for comparing Original Medicare with Medicare Advantage. It will help when rating private prescription drug plans.

You can compare when shopping for Medigap coverage to minimize the impact of cost sharing in Original Medicare.

Enter your zip below to compare several Medicare quotes in your state!


  1. https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/get-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b.html, “Part A & Part B sign up periods,” Oct 21, 2016.
  2. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10531.pdf, “How to Apply Online for Medicare Only,” Oct 21, 2016.
  3. https://www.medicare.gov/eligibilitypremiumcalc/#latepenaltycalc, “Eligibility & Premium Calculator,” Oct 21, 2016.
  4. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/part-a/what-part-a-covers.html, “What Part A covers,” Oct 21, 2016.
  5. https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/get-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b/when-sign-up-parts-a-and-b.html, “Part A & Part B sign up periods,” Mar 15, 2018.
  6. https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/when-can-i-buy-medigap.html, “When can I buy Medigap?,” Oct 21, 2016.
  7. http://obamacarefacts.com/whatis-obamacare/, “What is ObamaCare | What is the Affordable Care Act?,” Oct 21, 2016.
  8. http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-medicare/, “ObamaCare Medicare: ObamaCare and Medicare,” Oct 21, 2016.
  9. https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/individuals-and-families/aca-individual-shared-responsibi
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