Hospitals have found loopholes to avoid penalties linked to ObamaCare, but at the expense of patients' wallets.

The controversial law puts an impetus on improving the quality of care, doling out penalties or incentives for certain measures. Hospitals that have too many Medicare patient readmissions within 30 days of the patient getting discharged, for example, receive reduced Medicare payments.

But hospitals have found a way to game the system, a new study concludes.

Hospitals are increasingly "observing" Medicare patients instead of readmitting them, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. The practice can increase out-of-pocket costs for patients based on how they are classified by the hospital.


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