We are now weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic and are continually to learn about the virus and how to prevent and treat it. Reports from various sources including the CDC indicate that our senior population is most susceptible to COVID, thus taking proper steps in prevention and treatment are of extreme importance. Since most seniors are insured through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, it is important to understand how to access and pay for care relating to this virus.
From the beginning of the pandemic, Medicare has provided resources and information on how Medicare beneficiaries can access, receive and cover the cost of care relating to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
If you are enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and are concerned you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, get tested immediately and know that Medicare will cover the lab tests at no out-of-pocket costs.
Please find link below specifically addressing the COVID-10 virus test. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/coronavirus-test. Further, Medicare benefits extend to “cover(s) all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.”
You can find this information by clicking the link below: https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus
Medicare has expanded their telehealth services to include consultations for COVID-19. Per the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS), “Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, doctors and other health care providers can use telehealth services to treat COVID-19 (and for other medically reasonable purposes) from offices, hospitals, and places of residence (like homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities) as of March 6, 2020. Coinsurance and deductibles apply, though some healthcare providers are reducing or waiving the amount you pay for telehealth visits.”
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you want to check with your insurance company to confirm your specific insurance benefits. From recent plan updates, they are providing benefits that mirror Original Medicare with respect to the costs associated with COVID-19 testing.
Per CMS, “If you have coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket costs (called cost-sharing) for COVID-19 tests. They may also offer more telehealth services than what was included in their approved 2020 benefits.” Regardless of your insurance provider, if you want to learn more about the virus, where to access testing and other important information, you can visit www.cdc.gov