Hospitalization is not only a scary time, but can also be a bit confusing to many patients. You may be under the impression that just because you have spent a day or two in the hospital, you are admitted. However, this is not always the case.
Doctors in the emergency room may place a patient under observation status. For example, if you go to the hospital with chest pain, you may not be officially admitted but rather held for observation while doctors perform the necessary tests.
When it comes to Medicare insurance, the status of your hospital visit is important. Bills incurred during observation status will be paid by Medicare Part B (outpatient care), while an admitted patient will be covered by Medicare Part A (hospital care). Additionally, any follow-up care, such as skilled nursing care, may not be covered by Medicare at all after being hospitalized under observation status.
While you are hospitalized, it is important to communicate daily with your doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff regarding the status of your stay.