Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ON MEDICARE

From an email I recently received:

"
 ** Legal Alert **

Beware of Medicare
3-Day Hospital Stay  
 
Most people believe that if they are transferred from a hospital directly to a nursing home or rehabilitation center, they will be entitled to Medicare coverage for a certain period of time. This is generally true. However, a new status category employed by hospitals may thwart those benefits.

How It Works

When an individual has a 3-day hospital stay and then transfers to a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center, s/he will be entitled to a maximum of 100 days of Medicare coverage if all eligibility criteria are met and the individual is making progress and/or maintaining their skill level due to the therapy or rehabilitation services provided. The first 20 days will be paid for by Medicare in full and days 21-100 will be subject to a co-pay (currently $148/day), which can be covered by medi-gap or other private health insurance plans.

The Problem 

Unfortunately, many people are currently being denied this Medicare coverage due to action at the hospital level. Instead of admitting the patient, the hospital keeps the person in "observation." While a patient can be kept on "observation" for days at a time, it does not rise to the level of a hospital "admission." As such, when that patient is transferred to a nursing home or rehabilitation center, Medicare will not cover any of the costs of their care. With nursing homes and rehabilitation centers costing on average $400 per day, this is a huge financial burden to the patient and their family.

What You Can Do

When your loved one is in the hospital, ask a hospital staff member if s/he has been formally admitted to the hospital and has inpatient status. If necessary, engage the help of your loved one's primary care physician to ensure a formal hospital admission. It is often the case that the patient has no idea of their "status" in the hospital until s/he is transferred to a nursing home and by then, it is too late to secure a formal admission and in-patient status.

By knowing your rights, you can advocate for your loved one to make sure your loved one gets the benefits to which s/he is entitled.

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Genser Dubow Genser & Cona is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island.  The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger's, Reader's Digest and many others.   GDGC attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday's Act II "Ask the Expert" column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN."

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