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Medicare Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

Posted by Paul Rose on 3/26/20 4:19 PM

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Are your clients worried that they might have been exposed to the coronavirus? Medicare provides coverage for COVID-19 testing. Here’s how it works.

Coronavirus Testing May Be Covered at No Cost

The test for COVID-19 is covered under Medicare Part B. However, there are some restrictions and details to keep in mind.

  • The test is covered when it is ordered by the beneficiary’s doctor or other health care provider.
  • The test is covered when it is done on or after February 4, 2020, but the provider will not be able to submit a claim until after April 1, 2020.
  • Medicare covers lab tests for COVID-19, and there are no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Medicare Advantage enrollees have access to the same benefits and Medicare Advantage plans may waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests.

Additional Medicare for Coronavirus

In addition to testing, Medicare has announced how other coronavirus-related care will be covered.

  • Medicare’s coverage for medically necessary hospitalizations includes coverage for patients who need to stay in a hospital instead of being discharged because they are under quarantine.
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans will provide coverage for a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. However, as of now, there is no vaccine.
  • Medicare’s coverage of telehealth services has been expanded temporarily due to coronavirus, and Medicare Advantage plans may already offer additional telemedicine benefits.

Check the Medicare & Coronavirus webpage for new information and updates.

How to Get Tested

Common symptoms for coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If your clients are experiencing these symptoms, they should contact their health care provider, especially if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

For people who are sick or who think they might be sick, self-isolation is important to stop the spread of COVID-19. People can call their doctor for advice on how to proceed with treatment or testing. Medicare beneficiaries can also take advantage of expanded telehealth benefits to schedule virtual check-ins and to use online patient portals.

Encourage your clients to reach out to their carriers  to learn more about their specific COVID-19 coverage.

Of course, anyone who is experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 for immediate help.

Help Keep Your Clients Safe and Healthy

Offer these additional tips to help keep your clients safe and healthy.

  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Stay home and avoid large groups and contact with anyone who may be sick.
  • See if you can refill prescriptions early. Some plans are allowing this to help people prepare for COVID-19.

Topics: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Medicare coverage for COVID-19 testing

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