Does Medicare Pay for COVID-19 testing & services? I bet you’re a bit like me and like to know when there are changes to your health coverage. Staying informed about Medicare is important – maybe now more than ever.
In this post, I’ll review changes to your Medicare benefits (including COVID-19) and show you how to receive Medicare updates from reliable sources.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act eliminates beneficiary cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and related services, including an associated doctor visit.
In other words, Medicare Beneficiaries who get tested for COVID-19 do not pay the Part B Deductible or any co-insurance for this test. The test is covered if it was ordered after Feb 4 by your doctor or other health care professional.
You pay nothing for the test. Medicare Part B also covers the COVID-19 Antibody (or Serum test), which is an FDA-approved test designed to help see if you’ve developed an immune response and may not be at immediate risk of COVID-19 reinfection.
Although Medicare covers COVID-19 testing, treatment is not covered the same way.
If you’re admitted to a hospital for treatment, you are responsible for the Part A Deductible and Copays – unless you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help cover those costs.
If you are required to be quarantined in the hospital, even if you no longer need treatment and are eligible for discharge, you are not required to pay an additional deductible for quarantine in the hospital.
Now, if you require post-acute care at a Skilled Nursing Facility, you are responsible for copays – unless, of course, you have a Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan to help cover the costs.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Typically, a qualified hospital stay is required to receive Skilled Nursing Facility care.
However, if you’re not able to be in your home during the COVID-19 pandemic or are otherwise affected by the pandemic, you can get SNF care without a qualifying hospital stay.
It’s also important to note that you still have cost-sharing responsibility for any COVID-19 medical treatment under Part B – you must satisfy the annual Part B Deductible and pay the remaining co-insurance. If you have a Medigap plan (F, G, N), it will pay its portion of costs for your Medicare-approved services (such as outpatient services, physician visits, emergency ambulance transportation.)
Also, in response to COVID-19 – TeleHealth services have been temporarily expanded. During this time, you can receive a specific set of services through TeleHealth such as evaluation and management visits, mental health counseling, and preventive health screenings.
TeleHealth appointments ensure you are able to visit with your doctor from your home without having to go to a doctor’s office or hospital, which of course, can put you and others at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Beware of Scammers!
And, Medicare reminds us that Medicare Fraud is an on-going issue. There are always scammers waiting to take advantage of vulnerable situations, and COVID-19 is one of them.
And, if someone calls asking you for your Medicare number, Medicare recommends that you hang up!
To stay on top of important Medicare updates, I rely on several sources. You can sign up for email notifications or visit the websites periodically for the latest Medicare news.