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Hospital Patient Gets the Moon

Hospitals have just started doing something new: they are giving moons to patients. What’s a moon? Don’t panic: it doesn’t mean that hospitals are dropping their pants. It’s a form that could make a big difference in how much you might have to pay for healthcare.

Moon stands for, and this is going to be a mouthful, Medicare Outpatient Observation Status. And here’s why it’s important: if you go to the hospital and you’ve been there a couple of days, you are probably going to assume that you’re an inpatient. But that’s not necessarily so. Some patients are not formally admitted to the hospital. Instead they are put on “observation status.”

And that’s a big deal if you get your health insurance through Medicare. Medicare covers inpatient hospitalization much differently than observation status. And if you end up having to go to the nursing home after the hospitalization, if you were on observation status at the hospital, then you will pay a lot more for skilled nursing care at the nursing home than if you were an inpatient as the hospital. Even if you had received the exact same treatment at the hospital!

In the past, hospital patients had no sure way of knowing what their status was. But thanks to the new Moon law, if a Medicare patient is at a hospital under observation status for 24 hours, then the patient will now have to be told and given a form explaining their status and the reason for their status.

Of course, most people want to stay out of the nursing home. And one of the best ways to do that is to make sure that your care matches your needs. And knowing how to pay for it is crucial. The Life Care Plan we offer can make sure that your needs are known and your wishes complied with.

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