Since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discovered the first case of COVID-19 in the United States on January 20, 2020, more than 4 million cases have followed. The case counts continue to rise throughout the country, making many people uneasy about their health and safety. COVID-19 patients who are 65 or older have the highest mortality rates and are most likely to experience severe symptoms of the virus. As a result, many Medicare beneficiaries want to know how Medicare coverage has changed in response to COVID-19.

Medicare and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its devastating effects, government-funded Medicare has made several changes to adapt. As seniors are at high-risk, it’s especially critical that Medicare provides the preventative measures and treatment needed to survive Coronavirus. So, let’s take a look at all of the changes Medicare has made in response to COVID-19.

Medicare and COVID-19 Testing

One of the most important aspects of the U.S. response to COVID-19 is adequate testing. So far, doctors have administered over 50 million tests nationwide. Not only does this help people with COVID-19 seek treatment as quickly as possible, but it also helps the CDC track the spread of the virus and evaluate how best to combat it.

So, does Medicare cover COVID-19 testing? In short, yes, Original Medicare does cover COVID-19 testing as preventative care. Though previous types of Coronavirus testing were not covered as “preventative care” under Medicare Part B, COVID-19 has been given special priority. Thus, Medicare covers 100% of the cost of the COVID-19 test.

It’s also important to note that Medicare will cover the test regardless of the location. You can get the COVID-19 test at a medical facility, pharmacy, clinic, or even your home, and Medicare will pick up the tab. Medicare will also cover COVID-19 antibody tests and some related respiratory tests.

Medicare and COVID-19 Treatment

Medicare hasn’t made any significant changes regarding COVID-19 treatment. If you require “medically necessary” hospitalization due to COVID-19, Medicare Part A will cover it. If you require outpatient care due to COVID-19, Medicare Part B will cover it. However, you will still need to meet your annual deductibles and pay any applicable copayments and out-of-pocket expenses.

Additional Changes to Medicare

In addition to the changes outlined above, Medicare has also made some waivers to existing aspects of healthcare.

Medicare Blanket Waivers

The most recent Medicare blanket waivers provide greater flexibility to Medicare beneficiaries. There are several changes within this waiver that affect both healthcare providers and patients. However, the three most important waivers involve access to telehealth services, network coverage, and testing. 

Now, Medicare beneficiaries have easier access to telehealth services related to COVID-19. Additionally, medical facilities have more flexibility to screen patients “off-site” to prevent the spread of the virus. Finally, Medicare is waiving many of the out-of-network coverage restrictions when seeking testing or treatment for Coronavirus. You can find more information about the Medicare blanket waivers right here.

Bottom Line

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. However, Medicare is doing its best to provide senior citizens with the affordable healthcare they need. The testing coverage is one of the most important changes, but Medicare has also implemented several waivers to help save Medicare beneficiaries on the cost of treatment and make it easier for healthcare providers to stem the spread of COVID-19.

If you’d like to learn more about how Medicare coverage has changed in response to COVID-19, feel free to click here or (866) 399-4330 anytime. Our licensed agents are focused on giving you the information you need, with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.