Observation services may affect coverage and payment of your care after you leave the hospital:
If you need skilled nursing facility (SNF) care after you leave the hospital, Medicare Part A will only cover SNF care if you've had a 3-day minimum, medically necessary, inpatient hospital stay for related illness or injury. An inpatient hospital stay begins the day the hospital admits you as an inpatient based on a doctor's order and doesn't include the day you're discharged.
If you have Medicaid, a Medicare Advantage plan or other health plan, Medicaid or the plan may have different rules for SNF coverage after you leave the hospital. Check with Medicaid or your plan.
Note: Medicare Part A generally doesn't cover outpatient hospital services, like an observation stay. However, Part A will generally cover medically necessary inpatient services if the hospital admits you as an inpatient services if the hospital admits you as an impatient based on a doctor's order. In most cases, you'll pay a one-time deductible for all of your inpatient hospital services for the first 60 days you're in a hospital.
If you have any questions about your observation services, ask the hospital staff member giving you this notice or the doctor providing your hospital care. You can also ask to speak with someone from the hospital's utilization or discharge planning department.
You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
Your costs for medications:
Generally prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including "self-administered drugs" you get in a hospital outpatient setting (like an emergency department) aren't covered by Part B. "Self-administered drugs" are drugs you'd normally take on your own. For safety reasons, many hospitals don't allow you to take medications brought from home. If you have a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D), your plan may help you pay for these drugs. You'll likely need to pay out-of-pocket for these drugs and submit a claim to your drug plan for a refund. Contact your drug plan for more information.
If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO) or other Medicare helath plan (Part C), your costs and coverage may be different. Check with your plan to find out about coverage for outpatient observation services.
If you're a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary through your state Medicaid program, you can't be billed for Part A or Part B deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.