Admitted or observed; makes big difference in hospital bill

TULSA - About a year ago, Regina had quite a scare.

She blamed several days of chest pains on indigestion.

Regina told us, "My children got a little concerned so my youngest son took me to the urgent care in Tulsa, and they ran some tests and sent me by ambulance to St. Francis."

Regina says she and her children were told she was being admitted.

Regina spent the day in a hospital room, ate meals and went though more tests.

Tests which gave Regina a clean bill of health.

Great news, which turned a little sour, when she got bad news, about some of the $9,000 in charges.

"A few weeks ago I got a summons, they were going to take me to court over it.

Over nearly $2500 of her bill, which Medicare said it would not pay because Regina was at the hospital, the billing department said, for observation.

Regina says she didn't understand the difference, and thought the hospital had just miscoded the claim.

But that apparently, was not the case, and Regina says she couldn't get any answers.

"Nothing was mentioned about observation, my children and I were all told, we are going to admit you into the hospital and I thought admitted was admitted."

Since Regina had a court date coming up, we got in touch with the hospital about her billing issue.

She soon got a call from a billing supervisor.

Regina says she was told there is indeed a difference between being admitted and being observed.

But since there was so much confusion, and Medicare wouldn't pay for Regina's observation, the hospital zeroed out her account, and withdrew it from collections, she doesn't owe a dime.

It's something to remember, though, the next time you go to the hospital.

Are you being admitted, or just observed? And will your insurance company pay for observation?

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