Emergency room visits will probably become a part of your cancer and treatment experience.  When this happens, there are potentially serious financial pitfalls for you to avoid.  Sometimes a hospital keeps you there for a little while for observation, but doesn’t formally admit you and doesn’t assign you a diagnostic code.  It doesn’t matter how long this  “little while” is, it could be a few hours, overnight, or even a longer period, but this is not an admission and you have not received a diagnostic code.  If you are there only on  “observation status,” Medicare and most other private insurers will NOT pay.  You could find yourself being handed a bill for $25,000 or more!

Make sure you have a diagnostic code.

Most states have regulations that require a written discharge plan before a patient is allowed to return home. Without this plan, and until you agree that that the plan you receive is both safe and adequate, you should insist on remaining in the hospital. Do not buckle to pressure from the hospital staff until you are satisfied with the discharge plan.  Remember to consider issues such as being sure that your medication will be available, navigating stairs, help with bathing, and with other personal needs.