Kaiser Health News, September 24, 2013
A federal court judge in Hartford, Conn., dismissed a lawsuit Monday which was filed against the government by 14 Medicare beneficiaries who were denied nursing home coverage. Under Medicare rules, only patients admitted to a hospital for at least three consecutive days are eligible for coverage of follow-up nursing home care. The beneficiaries who brought the suit stayed in the hospital for observation and that time doesn't count toward the three-day requirement. They claimed there is little difference between admitted and observation status in the hospital, yet, as observation patients, they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in nursing home bills.