Medicare & Coronavirus / COVID-19 by : Lorri Lee
Your health , safety , and welfare in the face of the coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19 ) is the highest priority for Medicare . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart , lung , or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness . This means that most people with Medicare are at higher risk .
COVID-19 Related Needs
• Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19 . You pay no out-ofpocket costs . - Tests to diagnose or aid the diagnosis of COVID-19 - Some tests for related respiratory conditions to aid diagnosis of COVID-19 done together with the COVID-19 test . - As of September 2 , 2020 , and for the remaining duration of the public health emergency for COVID-19 , each beneficiary may receive Medicare coverage for one COVID-19 test without the order of a physician or other health practitioner . Medicare requires a physician or other practitioner for all further COVID-19 tests .
• Medicare covers FDA-authorized COVID-19 antibody ( or “ serology ”) tests if you were diagnosed with a known current or known prior COVID-19 infection or suspected past COVID-19 infection .
• Medicare covers monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 .
• Medicare covers COVID-19 vaccines . You pay no out-of-pocket costs .
• Medicare covers 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 will still pay for any hospital deductibles , copays or coinsurances that apply .
• If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan , you have access to these same benefits . Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests . Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits and expanded benefits , like meal delivery or medical transport services . Check with your plan about your coverage and costs .
Telehealth & Related Services
Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency . These services expand the current telehealth covered services , to help have access from more places ( including your home ), with a wider range of communication tools ( including smartphones ), to interact with a range of providers ( like doctors , nurse practitioners , clinical psychologists , licensed clinical social workers , physical therapists , occupational therapists , and speech language pathologists ). During this time , beneficiaries will be able to receive a specific set of services through telehealth including evaluation and management visits ( common office visits ), mental health counseling and preventive health screenings without a copayment if you have Original Medicare . This will help ensure you are able to visit with your doctor from your home , without having to go to a doctor ’ s office or hospital , which puts you and others at risk of exposure to COVID-19 .
Be alert for scammers !! Medicare covers the vaccine at no cost to you , so if anyone asks you to share your Medicare number or pay for access to the vaccine , you can bet it ’ s a scam .
Here ’ s what to know :
• You can ’ t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine .
• You can ’ t pay to get early access to the vaccine .
• DO NOT share your personal or financial information if someone calls , texts , or emails you promising access to the vaccine for a fee .
• As always , guard your Medicare card like a credit card , check Medicare claims summary forms for errors and if someone calls asking for your Medicare number , hang up !!!
_______________________________________________________________________ Sources for this article : https :// www . medicare . gov / medicare-coronavirus https :// www . medicare . gov / coverage / coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-tests https :// www . cms . gov / newsroom / press-releases / trump-administration-strengthenscovid-19-surveillance-new-reporting-and-testing-requirements
30 | SPRING 2021 CULLMAN COUNTY SENIOR MAGAZINE