Should Medicare Drop The '3-Day Rule' For Nursing Home Coverage?

When it comes to nursing home care costs, one source that a person is sometimes able to turn to for help in covering these costs beyond their own resources are government benefits. Among the government programs that sometimes provide individuals with help when it comes to nursing home care expenses are Medicare and Medicaid. An important thing to note though is that these programs have a great many eligibility rules.

One of the rules Medicare has regarding eligibility for nursing home coverage is the "three-day rule," which states that a senior must have been admitted to a hospital for no fewer than three days to be eligible for such coverage. Under this rule, individuals who were merely under observation at a hospital and not admitted to the hospital do not qualify for coverage.

This rule has proven controversial and has caused many people to be ineligible for nursing home coverage under Medicare, particularly in recent years.

Currently, pilot programs are being undertaken at some hospitals under which exemptions from this rule are being allowed. The pilots are aimed at looking into whether not having the three-day rule in place leads to any overall cost reductions or care improvements.

One wonders what results the pilots will yield and if a full elimination of the three-day rule will ultimately be considered. Do you think the three-day rule should be eliminated?

Nursing home care can be an incredibly expensive thing and planning for the costs of such care can be very important during the development of one's estate plan. The complexity of government rules regarding benefits for nursing home care, along with several other things, can make planning for these costs quite complex. However, with the help of an estate planning attorney, a person may be able to develop a plan for addressing future nursing home care costs that carefully takes into account their specific circumstances.

Source:, "Medicare tests options to alter nursing home policy," Susan Jaffe, July 23, 2014

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