How to know your medical status to save money
You're in a bed at the hospital and assume they've admitted you as inpatient, but are you really? You could be under observation - outpatient. Advice on getting clarity and saving money in the process:
Start with insurance. In addition to Medicare - including Part B which covers outpatient care - check with your employer or insurer about supplemental insurance and other coverage. If a hospital provider places you under observation, it will be easier on your pocketbook.
Know your status. If you're in the hospital more than a few hours and don't know if you're outpatient or inpatient, ask. Check also how this could affect out-of-pocket costs. Being informed won't change your status, but it could save you from a billing surprise later.
Appoint an emergency contact. Tell your family member, friend or caregiver that if you aren't in a position to ask the hospital about your admission status, they should.
Inquire about care decisions. Don't be afraid to ask about the pros, cons and necessity of tests and medications you're given. It's a good habit to be in anyway, and it could save you additional out-of-pocket costs if you're outpatient.
Appeal your admission status. If you're covered by Medicare and think you should have been an inpatient instead of outpatient, call 1-800-Medicare to make your case. A patient advocate may also be able to help you appeal this, and negotiate a lower bill with the hospital.