Medicare outpatients risk higher bills for some procedures - WNEM TV 5

Medicare outpatients risk higher bills for some procedures

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A government report says Medicare beneficiaries can end up with higher hospital bills for some medical services as outpatients than as inpatients.

Beneficiaries who had heart stents inserted as outpatients faced hospital bills that were $645 higher on average than those who had the same kind of procedure as inpatients. That's according to a report by the Health and Human Services inspector general's office due out Monday.

Stents are tiny mesh cages that prop open narrow or weakened arteries.

In a formal response to the report, Medicare said it has taken steps to protect beneficiaries from such billing disparities.

Nonetheless, the inspector general is recommending that Medicare take another look at how its billing rules distinguish between inpatient and outpatient hospital stays.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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