Today, March 8, 2017, the Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) goes into effect.  This is important for all Medicare participants who might need to go to the hospital during a medical crisis.

-All hospitals are required to furnish patients with an oral explanation of the patient’s hospital status as well as a written form to be signed by the patient (or a person acting on their behalf). This form can be requested from the hospital staff by its acronym MOON.

-This notice must be given before such patients have received 24 hours of observation services.

-This will affect more than a million Medicare beneficiaries each year of the reason they might be considered an outpatient receiving hospital observation services versus admitted to the hospital on an inpatient basis.

The outpatient/observation status will affect the following:

-All such services are covered under Medicare Part B which are subject to a deductible plus coinsurance versus inpatient hospitalization covered under Medicare Part A

 -Such status may or may not be covered under Medicare Advantage plans, depending on the plan

-Also 3-24 hour days of inpatient hospitalization must occur before the patient can be eligible for transfer to a Skilled Nursing Facility as well as Medicare coverage for those services

This is all so important to know—especially to avoid large, surprise hospital bills. If you have any questions or need to locate a MOON form—please call me. I’ll be glad to help.