Shift in hospital billing means greater costs for patients?
A hospital billing practice that can leave Medicare beneficiaries on the hook for large medical costs is becoming increasingly common, according to a report released in Health Affairs on Monday.
Three researchers from Brown University examined how frequently patients are placed on “observation status,” meaning they’re getting treatment in a hospital but are not technically admitted. That means their care is covered by Medicare Part B rather than Part A, which can leave patients responsible for a greater share of their costs.But patients who are not admitted to a hospital and then go to a nursing home take the biggest hit, because Medicare covers nursing home care for beneficiaries only after they’ve been hospitalized. And nursing home care isn’t cheap.
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