Brown announces plan to help seniors avoid huge hospital bills

WKYC

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced a plan that would end a Medicare policy causing seniors to be unknowingly hit with large costs after receiving necessary post-acute medical care.

Under current Medicare policy, a beneficiary must have an "inpatient" hospital stay of at least three days in order for Medicare to cover post-hospitalization skilled nursing care. Patients that receive hospital care on "observation status" do not qualify for this benefit, even if their hospital stay lasts longer than three days.

"When seniors are transferred from a hospital to a nursing home for further care, they should be able to focus on their recovery instead of technicalities that could lead to sky-high medical bills," Brown said.

Brown's bill, the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, has bipartisan support and would allow for the time patients spend in the hospital under "observation status" to count toward the requisite three-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care.

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