Young’s NOTICE Act signed into law

After President Obama signed the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act into law last week, U.S. Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) discussed the legislation, which he originally introduced. 

“Elderly patients shouldn’t have to worry about technical status codes and hospital billing procedures while they’re focused on recovering,” Young said. “Yet when those technical details can significantly impact their health coverage and future medical bills, they deserve to be made aware. This new law ensures seniors won’t be caught off guard by a large medical bill because they weren’t given proper notice of their status in the hospital.”

The new law will provide critical protection for Medicare recipients. It requires hospitals to inform Medicare patients of their specific admission status, whether it be “under observation” or as an “inpatient; and requires that the facilities explain the financial implications of that classification on eligibility and cost-sharing. Many people overlook the differences in those classifications – especially the elderly – but it can significantly impact future health coverage and make a difference in out-of-pocket costs to a Medicare patient of $10,000 or more.

Young provided an example of an Indiana woman who suffered a stroke and was transported to the emergency room for care, requiring a four-day hospital stay. When recovering in a skilled nursing facility, she incurred a cost of close to $10,000 because the hospital had designated her status as “under observation” instead of as an “inpatient.”

“This woman, like so many others, deserved proper notice that her care would incur much larger costs than if she were classified as an inpatient,” Young said. “She and her family deserved a chance to consult her primary physician about whether she should have been classified as an inpatient, as her primary physician later indicated. In a time of sickness and stress, families should focus on the recovery of their loved ones, instead of dealing with hidden costs due to lack of NOTICE.”