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Observation Status: Are you an Inpatient or an Outpatient in the hospital?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beginning July 1, 2015, Medicare beneficiaries in Minnesota will finally know the answer to this question! The Minnesota legislature passed a law that requires hospitals to provide both a written notice and a verbal notice if a patient is on Observation status while in the hospital for 24 hours or more.

Why is this important?

  • Being in Observation status means your hospital stay is covered by Medicare Part B and you will most likely have higher out-of-pocket costs than if you were an inpatient covered by Medicare Part A.
  • Observation stay may also mean that Medicare won’t cover your nursing home stay if you need to go there after you have been in the hospital.
  • Medicare requires a 3 day inpatient hospital stay before getting Medicare nursing home coverage.
  • Observation does not count as an inpatient stay.

I have questions. Where can I get help?

  • Call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433
  • Start a live chat with a specialist on® by clicking on MinnesotaHelp NOW! at the top of this page.