Avoid a financial catastrophe

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) When you go to the hospital as a retiree, you count on Medicare to pay the bills, including the follow-up care that may be necessary for rehabilitation. But what hundreds of thousands of families have discovered is that you can be billed personally for services you thought were covered.

Our expert for estate planning, David Carrier, has some tips on how to avoid the financial catastrophe. He says the most common way this happens is when rehab is not covered because you didn’t stay in the hospital long enough. The rule is that if you are not in the acute care facility for three days, Medicare won’t pay. Three days means three midnights, so if you get to the hospital in the afternoon but the admission paperwork isn’t processed until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., that day doesn’t count. If you’re not admitted, but held for observation, Medicare will not pay for rehabilitation or your hospital stay.

If you find yourself in this situation, the hospital or facility has an obligation to tell you whether Medicare will pay. If they don’t tell you, you don’t have to pay. You have rights to appeal, but nothing is automatic. You have to act!

David Carrier is holding a series of free LifePlan Workshops at his location at 5242 Plainfield NE in Grand Rapids. Seating is limited. Call (616) 361-8400 or visit his website for more information.

The Free LifePlan Workshops

  • Thursday, March 20 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 29 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Friday, April 4 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Monday, April 14 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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