By Attorney Liz Durnell
Did you know that Medicare will not pay for any part of a nursing home stay if you or your loved one were not “admitted” to the hospital for three days? Sometimes the person was just in the hospital for “observation.” Under current Medicare laws, if you are in for “observation,” you were not considered “admitted” to the hospital and Medicare will not pay for your nursing home stay.
There are few ways to combat this issue: 1. Have proper planning in place so that you are not reliant on Medicare, and; 2. Write to Your Senators and Member of the House to Support Observation Status Reform.
Proper planning may include irrevocable trusts, certain qualified annuities, and legal documents such as a Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will. You should consult an Elder Law Attorney to ensure that your planning is proper.
You may also write your Senators and member of the House to ask them to become co-sponsors of the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act (H.R. 1179 and S.569). The legislation reforms observation status and would allow time spent in the hospital under observation status to count toward the requisite three-day hospital stay for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing care.
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