It's not uncommon for hospitals to admit patients to an observation unit when physicians can't determine whether admission is necessary. In the majority of cases, a patient will stay in observation for between 24 and 48 hours. The following is an example of how this might work.
Susan*, a Minnesota resident, went to the emergency room with abdominal pain. The doctor who examined her decided not to admit her as an inpatient and kept her in the observation unit instead, where she was monitored by the hospital's nursing staff. After 48 hours, she was discharged to go home.
If Susan has a Hospital Indemnity plan, the observation unit benefit will pay benefits even though Susan was discharged rather than being admitted to the hospital. The observation unit benefit of this policy pays 100% of the hospital confinement indemnity benefit amount for up to six days each calendar year. If Susan's hospital confinement benefit amount is $250 per day, her policy will pay the same amount for her observation unit services, or $500. These benefits are, of course, in addition to any benefit payments she receives from major medical insurance, Medicare or a Medicare Supplement plan.
If Susan has a similar incident later this year, she will still have four days of observation unit benefits available to her.
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