During a time of uncertainty and worry, you have much more to think about than your medical coverage. Unfortunately, this pandemic that we have entered is targeting our senior citizens. Although the elderly are not the only ones that are being affected by the virus, they are the ones with a more difficult recovery. Throughout the COVID-19 era, you will want the assurance that you or your loved ones are covered through Medicare.
The number one question that is the majority’s concern is, “Will Medicare cover coronavirus testing?” The answer is, yes! The COVID-19 test will give your doctor a chance to diagnose and rule out any suspicion of your illness. As of March 2020, Medicare announced that Medicare Part B will cover the coronavirus testing. The way that Medicare will cover the coronavirus test is if your doctor or health care provider orders it.
Before you visit your doctor, you will want to make sure that your doctor accepts Medicare, because if he/she does not, then the test will not be covered by Medicare. Whether you are enrolled in traditional Medicare or have a Medicare Advantage plan, your copay and the deductible amount may be waived, along with your service and hospital observation. It is essential to know that your provider cannot submit a claim to Medicare for coronavirus testing until April 1, 2020.
Will Medicare cover my care?
Whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will be covered for your in-patient and out-patient services.
- Medicare Part A: This will play as your room and board during your in-patient hospital stay. Once you have been admitted to the hospital, you will have a $1,408 deductible, per admit.
- Medicare Part B: This is what will cover your out-patient services.
Example: Preventative services, doctor visits, lab work.
After you have been released from the hospital, and you need to stay at a skilled nursing facility, Medicare will cover your stay as long as it is on a short-term basis. What Medicare will not cover is your long-term care or assisted living. What that means is Medicare will not include any assistance to daily living activities, i.e., bathing, getting dressed, feeding, etc.
Currently, there has not been a preventative vaccine released for coronavirus. But, be rest assured that Medicare will not leave your side, especially during a pandemic. As of March 2020, the Cares Act was signed by the president of the United States, and it states that if a vaccine for coronavirus becomes available, it will be covered under Medicare Part D.
What is Telehealth and Telemedicine?
Telehealth is a new, virtual tool that was created for you to visit with your doctor, virtually. Telemedicine is a technological software where the communication between a patient and doctor can be in the comfort of your own home. Telemedicine will allow health care professionals to diagnose and treat patients from a distance. You can use this service by having a telephone or any type of audio communication (Skype, Facetime, etc.).
The main difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine is that Telehealth can be used for non-clinical services, such as administrative meetings and healthcare training. A major benefit from Telemedicine is that the patient will not have any exposure or interference with contagious patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is highly suggested that everyone is to avoid going to the doctor unless it is an emergency, due to the highly infectious spread of the virus. Telemedicine gives the citizens the care that they need, without sacrificing the chance of bringing back any germs and viruses with them.
The worldwide health crisis that we are experiencing should be taken very seriously. The symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you or a loved one have recently experienced any symptom, contact your health provider immediately, and know that you are covered by Medicare.
Danielle K. Roberts is the Vice President and co-founder at Boomer Benefits, where her team of experts help baby boomers with their Medicare decisions nationwide.