Of all the complex rules that plague fee-for-service Medicare, few are harder to understand and potentially more important for seniors than observation status. By now, many older adults have heard the phrase. But they are still not clear what it means.
A new study by AARP sheds some light on the consequences for seniors of hospital observation stays. But they turn out to be a muddle, in part because Medicare pays for hundreds of millions of dollars of skilled nursing facility care that probably should be billed to patients.