Hospital Admission vs Observation Status = $30,000

As our parents age, there is a period when they slip from fully able to decidedly less so. In an ideal world, they would move to a supported environment at precisely the right moment in their lives. But more often that not, an unexpected accident precipitates a sudden transition to a nursing home or similar facility.

Consider a scenario where a parent has a serious fall at home and must be rushed to a hospital by ambulance.

After being held for observation for a few days, the staff determine that Mom or Dad are not able to care for themselves anymore.

Hospital staff then lay out two options:

1) Hire in-home 24-hour care

2) Move Mom or Dad to a nursing home at approximately $300 per day

If both of those options are financially unworkable, you should know that there is another very feasible one.

In the situation described above, the parent had only been kept for observation at the hospital and not formally admitted, a crucial distinction.

Make certain that the parent is seen by a doctor upon arrival at a hospital and then formally admitted. With an admission, Medicare will pay for three days of care and subsequent to that stay, another 100 days of rehabilitation. In the situation described, that is a savings of $30,000 over the scenario described above.

Recent changes to Medicare (see the link below) ensure that an admission must be done before the benefits noted above kick in.

So remember, always ensure that your loved one is admitted to hospital and not just kept for observation. The distinction can be a costly one.

To read more about this, click on the link here.

Ben is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and a member of the board of directors for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education. As one of the few Elder Law attorneys in Illinois to also have a CPA, Ben brings a unique perspective and benefit to his clients as both a skilled estate planner, litigator and accountant.