The spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is at the forefront of everyone’s news screens and minds these days. This unprecedented health crisis is a particular concern for adults over 60, as they have a higher risk of hospitalization and serious health complications with the disease. One of the biggest questions being asked by this age group: if I need to get tested for the coronavirus, is it covered by Medicare?
The good news is, yes. Medicare Part B does provide coverage for the coronavirus test if your doctor orders it and if you got the test on or after February 4, 2020. There are no out-of-pocket costs. A bill recently passed requires the traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs to fully cover costs, with no deductible for patients, for coronavirus testing-related services. What about hospitalizations? If your doctor recommends that you be quarantined and/or treated in the hospital versus being self-quarantined at home, you won’t have to pay. Medicare Part A covers medically necessary hospitalizations and this includes coronavirus related treatment. Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans offer these same benefits as well since Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if and when a vaccine is available, costs for the vaccine will be covered by Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug) plans.
On March 17th, President Trump and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that Medicare patients can also now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost. With more than 60 million Medicare recipients in the United States, this can help those people get the care they need for other medical conditions without having to leave their house. For example, if you are diabetic and have a regularly scheduled appointment, you can attend a “virtual visit” with your doctor over the phone to avoid the risk of exposure by going into the doctor’s office. As always, check with your doctor and insurance provider on coverage and what your options are should you need testing or treatment. If you are showing symptoms for the virus or have been exposed to someone that does have the virus, you should contact your primary care provider to get tested.