Senator Brown calls for Medicare change - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Senator Brown calls for Medicare change

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Senator Sherrod Brown is proposing a new bill that he says will fix a policy that currently leads to high medical bills for some seniors.

Brown held a press conference at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center on Friday to talk about a rule change that he believes will benefit seniors who need necessary medical care

He is announcing a plan that would end what he calls an arbitrary medicare policy that causes seniors to be hit with huge, unfair costs.

Currently a patient must have an inpatient hospital stay of at least three days in order for medicare to cover post-hospitalization nursing care.

Patients that receive hospital care on "observation status" do not qualify for that benefit and get billed.

"As medicare has gotten more and more expensive and healthcare costs have gone up we've had to deal with how do we make sure this medicare is available the way it should be. Keep in mind 45 years ago seniors had no health insurance today almost everybody does," says Brown.

Senior advocates say the proposal should help those who need to concentrate on their health while instead having to figure out their finances.

Mary Beth Potts, an RN, says "What do I need to do is concentrate on getting better. Not is this covered? How am I going to pay for this? Am I going to lose my savings or my house? That shouldn't even be on their minds but that's what is going through their minds when they fall through the cracks like that."

The Senator says his "Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act" would allow for the time patients spend in the hospital under observation status to count toward the 3-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care, and hence, be covered by medicare.

Brown says he has bipartisan support for his proposal.

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