New Bill Makes It Easier to get Medicare Coverage for Long-Term Care

Under current law, a patient must have been admitted to the hospital for at least three days before Medicare will cover subsequent skilled nursing care.  If the time that the patient has spent in the hospital has been considered “observation status,” no matter how long it lasts, the patient will not be eligible for Medicare coverage if she is then discharged to a skilled nursing facility.  This has created a hardship for untold numbers of patients who have no idea that it is important to be formally admitted to the hospital in order to have Medicare cover the care they need.

Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT), Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) have introduced legislation, which would allow for the time patients spend in the hospital under “observation status” to count toward the requisite three-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care.

Congressman Courtney, Congressman Latham and Senator Brown are working to obtain additional co-sponsors and garner support for the bill. Additionally, a “Dear Colleague” letter is currently circulating on Capitol Hill. If your Congressman is not listed among the co-sponsors for H.R. 1179 (see list below), we ask that you please contact him or her now and ask that they co-sponsor the legislation. If they are listed, please let them know that you strongly support this bill, and you appreciate their efforts.


House – Rep David N. Cicilline (RI-1), Rep Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Rep Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Rep James R. Langevin (RI-2), Rep John B. Larson (CT-1), Rep Tom Latham (IA-3), Rep David Loebsack (IA-2), Rep Richard M. Nolan (MN-8), Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Rep Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-9).


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