Medicare coverage for nursing home care
If a patient has spent 3 days in the hospital, Medicare may pay for care in a Skilled Nursing Facility:
Days 1 – 20: $0 co pay for each benefit period
Days 21 - 100: patient pays $157.50 coinsurance per day during 2015
Days 101 and beyond: patient pays all costs
Do you know your rights to nursing home coverage under Medicare? Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital care, and then for care in a skilled nursing facility IF the patient has a "qualified" hospital stay of at least 3 days (not counting day of discharge) before being admitted to the skilled nursing facility. Admission to the nursing home must be within 30 days of the hospital discharge. But patients put on Hospital Observation Status end up paying out-of-pocket if they need nursing home care:
Summary. Medicare is telling hospitals to keep patients "under observation," to prevent eligibility for the 100 days of Skilled Nursing Facility benefits. A Medicare fact sheet warns patients to ask about their status when they are in the hospital: "You’re an inpatient starting the day you’re formally admitted to the hospital with a doctor’s order. The day before you’re discharged is your last inpatient day."
Support federal legislation that would allow observation days to count toward Medicare's three day hospitalization requirement, so that the hospital patient will qualify for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility room and board. Please contact your US Congressperson and US Senator to ask them to support House Bill No. HR1571 and Senate Bill No. S843.
If you go to the nursing home after a qualified hospital stay, there may be a second hurdle. Nursing homes are often reluctant to keep billing Medicare, because they think Medicare coverage depends on beneficiary’s restoration potential; but the standard is whether skilled care is required:
Summary. Even if full recovery or medical improvement is not possible, a patient may need skilled services to prevent further deterioration or preserve current capabilities. The nursing home patient who needs these skilled services should still be covered by Medicare
Hospital Observation Status can be financially devastating. Read More by Attorney John L. Roberts at: Agingcare.com "This happened to us last year. After 4 days we were told the status was changing to outpatient." More in Reader Comments.