Medicare Protections in the News
AARP June, 2015
“Washington Watch – Medicare Protections”
Medicare reforms long advocated by AARP are part of a law signed by President Obama in April that averts cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. The law also mandates the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to protect their owners against identity theft, a process that could take up to eight years. “These changes will protect beneficiaries’ identities and reduce unnecessary Medicare spending”, says Ariel Gonzalez, AARP director of federal health and family advocacy. “But more can be done to protect beneficiaries.”
For example, whether a hospital stay is classified as “inpatient” or “under observation” can have costly consequences for Medicare patients. AARP supports two bills before Congress – one would require hospitals to explain to patients how their stay is being classified, and how it affects them. The other bill would allow “under observation” stays to count toward the three-day minimum in patient stay required before Medicare will cover care in a skilled nursing facility.
Remember – until the proposed laws become effective, be sure to ask that you or your family member be classified as admitted when being hospitalized to insure payment coverage. Questioning how a patient is classified during a hospital stay is critical for coverage for any age.