Medicare Patients Beware: Hospitals Take Advantage to Take Your Money

This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.

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Medicare Patients Beware: Hospitals Take Advantage to Take Your Money

It’s been a bitter pill to swallow for the generation that grew up always trusting that the healthcare system was set up to help them get exactly what they needed, for little or no cost.  That bitter pill comes in the form of the realization that the purpose of the healthcare system is to maximize its profits. (Picture me smacking the palm of my hand against my forehead!) If they also happen to help a patient while making all that money, well, then, OK. That’s nice, too. Yes – cynical – I know. But once we embrace the 30 thousand foot view of the healthcare system and money, we are in a better position to get what we need from it; to protect ourselves from the aspects that will cost us far more than they should. But wait, you say… I’m on Medicare!  I paid into the system all my working life!  I don’t have to worry about the cost of my care!  To which I answer – NOT TRUE!  Pull your head out of the sand! Because even if the government isn’t trying to make a profit from its citizens, it IS desperately trying to stem the bleed – the payouts to doctors, hospitals, testing labs, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies… The government is drowning in costs for Medicare patients, so to the extent it can SAVE money – it’s looking for every way to do so. Therefore, more and more, Medicare is making changes to its payment system that pulls more from citizen pockets, taking less responsibility than it used to. Case in point – and unrealized by too many hospitalized Medicare patients and their caregivers who do just don’t know how much a hospital stay might cost them; as in, tens of thousands of dollars… the concept of Observation Status. This concept addresses whether or not the patient has been admitted to the hospital. Not all patients are formally admitted, even if they are moved to a room, stay overnight, and are tended to by the doctors and nurses of the hospital. When patients are not formally admitted, they are considered to be under “observation status.” Medicare doesn’t pay for observation status. So patients who have spent their hospital time under observation status get billed directly by the hospital, and will be required to pay for the stay and its care themselves – at a minimum, several…


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