Hospital status (whether inpatient or outpatient) affects how much you pay for hospital services – like x-rays, drugs, and lab tests. Quite often people think that they’ve been admitted to the hospital as an inpatient because they’ve stayed overnight or maybe even stayed for more than one day. On the contrary, this is not always true.
Inpatient status: you are considered an inpatient when you are formally admitted to a hospital with a doctor’s order.
Outpatient status: you are considered an outpatient if you are in a hospital and receiving any hospital services while your doctor has not written an order to admit you as an inpatient.
Doctors typically place hospital patients under observation to determine if they should be formally admitted as inpatients or if they can be discharged without further treatment. Hospital costs for inpatients are covered in-part under Medicare Part A. However, observation care at a hospital is considered an outpatient service, and Part A does not cover such services. Instead, Medicare Part B helps cover the cost of outpatient services including observation care.
Note: if you need help understanding your hospital status, it is best to speak with your doctor or someone from the hospital’s discharge planning department.
For more information about Medicare, contact us at (941) 405 – 3900.