Saturday, February 08, 2014

Trouble for Seniors

Trouble for Seniors - Under Observation

There have been an increasing number of cases that seniors need to know about - the issue is two words, "under observation".  Medicare rules say that if you are an "in patient" in an acute-care hospital for three days or more, you are entitled to up to 3 weeks of paid, skilled nursing care after discharge.

The rub is, recently Medicare administrators have been forcing hospitals to list more and more stays as "under observation" stays, rather than "in patient" stays - even for severe illnesses or traumas.

If you are listed as "under observation", you have to pay for any skilled nursing care, even if you thought Medicare was paying for it.  Medicare administrators have been known to reverse designations months after stays in nursing homes, and sticking patients with unexpected bills totaling $25,000 to $30,000.

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