Concerning Medicare

This announcement is provided by GCI treasurer, Mat Morgan.

medicareGCI pastors and other families who are enrolled for Medicare in the U.S. should be aware of important information related to Medicare coverage of hospital care.

Please be aware of the distinction that Medicare makes between hospitalization classified as “inpatient” vs. hospitalization classified as “outpatient.” Knowing the difference could save you a lot of money and affect whether you qualify for skilled nursing care at the end of a hospital stay.

In how it pays for hospitalization and related services, Medicare distinguishes between “under observation” (outpatient) treatment and inpatient treatment. As the patient, you won’t necessarily know how your doctor and hospital are classifying your stay. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid services suggest that you ASK YOUR DOCTOR how your stay is being classified each day you are in the hospital. Doing so might save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenditures.

To learn more go to www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/54026469/ and read page 32 of Medicare & You 2014—the publication you were sent when you enrolled for Medicare (available online at www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf).

If you have purchased a Medicare supplement insurance policy or have a Medicare Advantage (HMO) plan, understanding this issue may make a difference in your ultimate costs. It would be a good idea to find out how your plan views inpatient and outpatient costs.

Neither inpatient nor outpatient care is necessarily better than the other—each situation is determined based on the patient’s symptoms and medical needs. The important thing is that you be aware of what treatment you’re actually receiving, how it is being classified and thus how it will affect your family’s finances.

One thought on “Concerning Medicare”

  1. In addition, when one is being treated in the Emergency Room, it is important to ask if the treating physician takes Medicare. There are situations where the hospital does “balanced billing” where the physician is a contract employee and doesn’t necessarily accept certain insurance coverage (including Medicare). If they don’t, then you’ll be charged for their services because insurance doesn’t cover it.

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