Many beneficiaries wrongly assume their overnight hospital stay is considered inpatient and covered by Medicare Part A – only to end up paying thousands of dollars in hospital bills after they’re discharged. Learn how a patient’s hospital status affects Medicare hospital coverage and costs.
Imagine this scenario: You come down with food poisoning and need medical treatment.* When you visit your doctor, he orders you to stay in the hospital to monitor your condition. You’re given a bed and stay for two nights before you’re discharged. A month later, you receive a hefty hospital bill that Medicare won’t pay for because it says you were admitted under “observation status.” You end up saddled with a $1,216 bill for what you thought was a Medicare-covered, inpatient hospital stay.
Many Medicare beneficiaries don’t realize that their patient status affects what Medicare covers and how much they pay out-of-pocket. Whether a patient is covered as an inpatient under Medicare Part A or an outpatient under Medicare Part B could be a difference of thousands of dollars.