If you’re on Medicare and you believe your services are ending too soon or you’re receiving discharge orders prematurely, you can ask for a fast appeal to fight the hospital discharge. With a fast appeal, the independent reviewer can determine if your services should continue.
You may decide to file a fast appeal if you disagree with the decision about your release from a hospital, home health agency, skilled nursing facility, hospice, or a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility.
To learn more on how to fight your discharge with a fast appeal, keep reading.
How Do You Contest a Hospital Discharge with Medicare?
As soon as you decide you want to file a fast appeal, you can ask your provider to give you a notice of Medicare non-coverage which will tell you how to file a fast appeal. Be sure to read the notice carefully.
You contact your Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) for assistance in filing your appeal. The fast appeal will only cover the decision to end services, you only need a separate appeal for items that you receive after the decision to end services.
The hospital cannot force you to discharge before the BFCC-QUI reaches a decision. So, you can stay in the hospital during the review of your appeal, coinsurances and deductibles will apply.
The fast appeal is only one type of Medicare appeal, there are different appeals for different things.
Within two days of being admitted to a facility and before you’re discharged, you’ll get a notice called “An Important Message from Medicare about Your Rights.” On the notice, there will be contact information for the BFCC-QIO and details about your rights.
How Do I Ask for a Fast Appeal?
To ask for a fast appeal, you must follow the directions on the “Important Message from Medicare” notice. You’ll want to request the appeal if you think your Medicare-covered services are ending soon.
For a fast appeal, you must request the appeal no later than the day of discharge. But, if you miss the deadline for your fast appeal, different times frames and rules will apply. Also, you’ll likely be responsible for the full cost of the hospital stay past the original day the hospital clears you for discharge.
What Happens During the Fast Appeal Review?
Once the BFCC-QIO receives your request for a fast appeal, they will notify the plan and the facility you’re at, and your Medicare. When the plan and hospital have been notified by the BFCC-QIO of your fast appeal, the plan or the hospital will provide you with a “Detailed Notice of Discharge.”
The BFCC-QIO will review the medical information that the hospital provides and they will ask you for your opinion. Then they will decide if you’re ready for discharge within one day of getting the information.
What Happens If The BFCC-QIO Decides Your Discharge is Too Soon?
If the determination after your appeal is that the hospital is discharging you too soon, Medicare will continue to cover your hospital stay if it’s medically necessary. You’ll be responsible for covering any applicable coinsurance or deductible.
If your insurance never gave authorization for the inpatient admission or the inpatient admission wasn’t for the emergency care, you may need to appeal the denial of coverage from your plan, which is separate from the fast appeal.
Other than applicable co-insurance and deductibles, you won’t be responsible for paying hospital charges incurred through noon the day after the BFCC-QIO gives you a decision.
Inpatient hospital care received after that will be your financial responsibility.
If a Medicare beneficiary requests a fast appeal of their discharge, when is the latest that request can be made?
The latest request for a fast appeal cannot be sent later than noon on the first day after the day before the termination date on your “notice of Medicare non-coverage.”
When a Medicare beneficiary requests a fast appeal, when should they expect a decision?
The BFCC-QIO should decide within 24 hours. A successful appeal means you can remain in the hospital and your Medicare will continue to cover your care.
What is the “Safe Discharge” policy?
“Safe discharge” laws prevent hospitals from discharging patients that don’t have a safe plan for the continuation of care after leaving the hospital. Also, “Safe discharge” is the term Medicare uses, and if you believe the current plan doesn’t meet the needs of a safe discharge as defined by Medicare, using the terminology may sway the decision in your favor.
How do I file a fast appeal with a Medicare Advantage plan?
For those that have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can ask the plan for an appeal, but there are different rules that apply. Contact your plan for more information.
How Medigap Insurance Can Help Lower the Cost of Inpatient Care
Medicare supplement insurance can cover the Part A deductible and coinsurance, which could save you lots of money if you’re in the hospital, especially if you’re in the hospital for a long time.
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