The next bed could cost you a lot if the hospital says you're there on observation.
Credit Courtesy Donna Maxcy
Rosalie Winkworth spent four days in the hospital after a fall. After discharge, she went to a nursing home, but because the hospital considered her on observation status, her family had to pick up the bill.
If you're on Medicare and you're in the hospital for a few days, you may think you're an inpatient. The hospital may have other ideas. Increasingly, hospitals are placing older patients on "observation status." They may be there for days, but technically they're still outpatients.
This is a big deal for someone on Medicare because follow-up treatment in a nursing home isn't covered unless someone has been an inpatient for at least three days. That's leaving some seniors on the hook for thousands of dollars in nursing home bills.
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