Millions of Medicare recipients are under shelter-in-place orders caused by the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. Seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems make up a large segment of the Medicare population and are at risk for serious complications caused by COVID-19. Although the virus can infect anyone, people with pre-existing conditions are considered especially vulnerable to the virus.
With so much uncertainty surrounding this global pandemic, let’s discuss your Medicare benefits as they are related to this crisis, so you can rest assured that you will have access to the appropriate testing and treatment if you need it.
Medicare Covers the COVID-19 Test
If you are ill, please call your doctor’s office immediately. You may be able to schedule a video chat or phone call to discuss your condition. Medicare has expanded its telehealth services to allow Medicare recipients to have access to their physicians without having to leave their home and risk being infected. If your doctor feels that your symptoms warrant a visit to your doctor’s office. If the doctor feels you should be tested for COVID-19, they can give you an official order to get the test performed. You may be sent to a designated testing center.
There has been some confusion surrounding the availability of test kits, eligibility to receive the test, and the costs involved. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms require you to see a medical provider, visit a hospital, or go to a local coronavirus testing location. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) will cover the costs as long as you receive a doctor’s order or other medical provider’s order for the test. There may be walk-in or drive-thru testing centers depending on your local facilities. You will pay nothing for your test.
Treatment for Coronavirus
If you test positive and need to be hospitalized, Medicare will cover all medically necessary hospitalizations due to coronavirus.
When a vaccine becomes available, it will be covered by Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. You can get Part D coverage by enrolling in a standalone Prescription Drug Plan if you have Original Medicare. You also have the choice to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
It may seem that news related to the COVID-19 pandemic is changing from day to day. For more detailed information regarding the latest health and safety information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read more about the government’s response to the virus at USA.gov.