Hospitalized Americans May Find Medicare Unwilling to Pay
|March 29, 2014||Posted by Staff under Health|
This 2014 excerpt of World News Trust, Mar 13, is by Joel S. Hirschhorn.
If you ever find yourself in a hospital for an overnight stay that could last from one or two days, or perhaps much more, ask if you are being classified as “under observation.” This means that legally you are not an inpatient. Then you are likely to find yourself owing the hospital a large amount of money, because your Medicare or other health insurance will not provide the benefits associated with inpatient status.
If told that you will be in the observation category, then you might seriously consider whether you should stay in that hospital, or perhaps seek another one if you are not in immediate need of medical attention.
Realistically, you may not be in a clear enough mental state when you enter a hospital to ask questions and demand good answers about how the hospital is classifying your stay.
From 2007 through 2009, the ratio of Medicare observation patients to those admitted as inpatients rose by 34 percent. More than 10 percent of patients in observation were kept there for more than 48 hours, and more than 44,800 were kept in observation for 72 hours or longer in 2009 — an increase of 88 percent since 2007. Note that Medicare guidelines recommend that observation stays be no longer than 24 hours and only “in rare and exceptional cases” extend past 48 hours.
This observation status was a tactic by government to reduce Medicare spending. It puts hospitals in the difficult position of putting their patients in a hard financial situation.
Ed. Notes: Complexity is the enemy of equity. If you want fairness, you really can’t let politicians and bureaucrats issue so many and biased rules. Instead, you must create a system that operates automatically without constant tinkering by managers. For medical costs, allow more entrants into the field to increase supply and clean the environment and shorten the workweek to reduce stress and illness and thus decrease demand. That’ll cut costs of affordable levels. It’s geonomics, rather than letting the government handle it (the latter is not a very adult attitude, is it?)