My last blog post, Just Another Boring Week In Washington DC, reviewed my annual trip to Washington to discuss health insurance issues with our elected representatives and their staffs. Health insurance agents have both a real understanding of how our private/public health care payment system works as well as the ability to express the positives and negatives in understandable language. We are also in the position to champion our clients’ needs and concerns, issues that all too often are set aside or ignored. One of those issues, one that has festered for several years, is how hospitals can classify a Medicare patient’s hospital stay as “for observation” which may impact subsequent coverage in a skilled nursing facility. Under title XVIII if the Social Security Act:
The term “post-hospital extended care services” means extended care services furnished an individual after transfer from a hospital in which he was an inpatient for not less than 3 consecutive days before his discharge from the hospital in connection with such transfer.
Our group, the National Association of Health Underwriters, has been working to eliminate this problem. I am pleased to announce that bi-partisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. H.R. 1682 is sponsored by Joe Courtney (R-CT). The bill currently has 13 co-sponsors including Glenn Thompson (R-PA). Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced S-753 on March 12, 2019. His 19 co-sponsors are a cross-section of the United States Senate and include Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and James Lankford (R-OK). Click here for a more detailed explanation of the legislation from Senator Brown’s website.
We have always presented this as a non-partisan issue, an issue of fairness. It is gratifying to see Members of Congress from across the political spectrum step up to co-sponsor this legislation. In the end, it is just one step forward.
Picture – Observation Ain’t Enough – David L Cunix