Lifetime Reserve Days

Published: | Updated: August 1, 2016

Definition - What does Lifetime Reserve Days mean?

Lifetime reserve days refer to the number of days of hospital treatment a health insurance policy covers over its lifetime after the policyholder uses up the allotted amount per benefit period. Typically, a policy would allow for 90 days of hospital treatment per coverage period and 30 days in lifetime reserve days.

Insuranceopedia explains Lifetime Reserve Days

Lifetime reserve days are typically a feature of Medicare policies. Once the insured is admitted to a medical facility, the benefit period starts and lasts until they leave. In case they need to stay longer than the time allotted per benefit period, they can use lifetime reserve days to remain covered for the rest of their stay. For example, a patient allowed only 90 days per coverage period uses 10 lifetime reserve days to stay for 100 days in a facility.

A Medicare policy requires different co-pays based on the number of days the patient stays. The first 60 days typically have no co-pay, while day 61 to 90 have a higher co-pay, and an even higher co-pay per lifetime reserve day after 90 days. A patient and their family can reduce the overall cost of an extended stay by careful planning, as it may make more financial sense to pay out of pocket, use a separate policy, or take advantage of lifetime reserve days.

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