Kaiser Health News in collaboration with The Washington Post published a very interesting article focusing on how more and more Medicare beneficiaries are finding they are not being classified as “admitted - inpatient” when staying at a hospital. Instead, they are being classified as “under observation.” Though the level of care doesn’t vary between either classification, the latter means Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay significantly more out-of-pocket for their total care.
One example given in the article is about Ed Timmins (88) who spent four days in the hospital for extreme back pain and other issues. The whole time he was never admitted, so Medicare isn’t going to cover his $23,864 nursing home bill. The hospital where he received treatment would not discuss his case, but implied that he did not meet Medicare’s “medical necessity” requirement to be in an inpatient status.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, claims from hospitals for observation care have increased over the last several years. Observation care claims rose from 828,000 in 2006 to more than 1.1 million in 2009. Additionally, observation care claims regarding stays more than two days tripled to 83,183. The article states several reasons for the increase, but focuses on the fact that Medicare is being more aggressive in their audits in order to reduce costs. Click here to read the full article. Also, you may want to forward this useful link to your clients that explains what to do if they are classified as “under observation.”
Selling More with Jeffrey Gitomer
This month’s issue of InsuranceNewsNet has an in-depth interview with Jeffrey Gitomer who wrote The Sales Bible. Here is a list what he believes insurance agents should and should not do to increase their sales.
Google Implements New “Instant” Feature
Since many of you are beginning to utilize search engine optimization as a method of attracting more customers to your business, you will want to know that on Wednesday, Google implemented a new feature they call “Google Instant.” This feature automatically attempts to complete your search terms as you type them. As you are typing Google starts to stream results. These results change dynamically as you further refine your search term. Google says this new feature will reduce search times by two to five seconds. The change will also have a significant impact on SEO strategy. Now you will want to start optimizing for search terms that Google automatically generates. Also, this feature appears to only be available on the most recent browsers, so if you are still using older browsers such as IE 6 or 7, you’ll need to upgrade to use this new feature.
Sources: KHN, Washington Post, InsuranceNewsNet, ComputerWorld