If I Only Knew
Did you know that even if you stay in a hospital overnight, you might still
be considered an “outpatient?” Your hospital status (whether the hospital
considers you an “inpatient” or “outpatient”) affects how much you pay for
hospital services (like X-rays, drugs, and lab tests) and may also affect whether
Medicare will cover care you get in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) following
your hospital stay.
- You’re an inpatient starting when you’re formally admitted to a hospital with
a doctor’s order. The day before you’re discharged is your last inpatient day.
- You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services,
observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, X-rays, or any other
hospital services, and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you to a
hospital as an inpatient. In these cases, you’re an outpatient even if you spend
the night at the hospital.