Can medicare refuse payment if I left the hospital before released?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I left the hospital three days later because of a panic-attact. I felt unsage, and desperate to get home. Can Medicare refuse payment?

Expert Answers

Medicare Part A will cover your inpatient hospital bill if the care you received there was medically necessary and had to be provided to you as an inpatient. Medicare Part B (if you have it) will cover the bills for any treatment you received from outside doctors while you were a hospital patient. The fact that you left the hospital against medical advice -- meaning before the doctors there were ready to discharge you -- does NOT normally affect Medicare coverage for the care you had already received, as long as that care was medically necessary. In other words, leaving the hospital early does not undo the fact that you were properly in the hospital to begin with.

An exception to this could occur in a situation where you were scheduled to undergo a procedure, you voluntarily checked into the hospital for the purpose of receiving that procedure, you then received care intended to prepare you for the procedure, but then left against medical advice before receiving the procedure. In that case, Medicare might determine that the time you spent in the hospital -- which the hospital will still bill you for -- was not medically necessary.