Will Medicare Cover Coronavirus Treatment?
The coronavirus is a respiratory illness that has put our world in a global pandemic. The virus is highly contagious and easily spreads from respiratory droplets released in the air from a sneeze, cough, or talking. There have been over 200,000 deaths in the United States, but over five million people have recovered from the disease.
The age group this virus has impacted the most are senior citizens. For example, eight out of ten coronavirus deaths have been seniors aged 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With that said, Medicare has had to adjust its coverage to ensure seniors can receive the healthcare they need during these pressing times. So, does that mean Medicare will cover coronavirus treatment?
Medicare and coronavirus testing
There are two coronavirus tests (the swab, and antibody test) available to help healthcare providers determine if you have the disease. Typically, when you receive a test like this at an outpatient setting, you must meet the Part B deductible or pay a coinsurance at the doctor’s office. Medicare Part B covers these two tests at 100%.
Medicare beneficiaries who receive a coronavirus test will not have to pay the Part B deductible or coinsurance when you get the test from a hospital, doctor, laboratory, pharmacy, and select drive-thru locations. Also, Medicare Advantage plans cannot charge deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance for lab tests to detect or diagnose the coronavirus disease.
Depending on your symptoms’ severity, your doctor may send you home to quarantine until your symptoms pass. However, some seniors become hospitalized as coronavirus symptoms can be severe for senior citizens.
Medicare and hospital coverage
If you were to become vitally ill due to the coronavirus and are admitted to the hospital, Medicare Part A would cover your treatment throughout your inpatient stay. As an inpatient, Medicare Part A covers a semi-private room, meals, lab services, and some medications inside the hospital.
When admitted to the hospital, you will pay the Part A deductible, which is $1,408 in 2020. After the Part A deductible is met, Medicare will cover up to 60 days for your stay inside the hospital. If your stay surpasses 60 days, you will have a daily copayment of $352 for days 61 through 90.
Suppose you are discharged from the hospital but must continue to quarantine inside the hospital because you are still coronavirus positive. In that case, you will not have to pay any additional deductible to continue quarantining.
After you are discharged from the hospital, you may be required to stay at a skilled nursing facility if your doctor recommends it. If this is the case, Medicare Part A covers up to 20 days at a skilled nursing facility if you were an inpatient at the hospital for at least three days. If you are required to stay more than 20 days at the facility, there will be a daily copayment of $176 for days 21 through 100. However, if you have a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan, it will likely pick up these out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare beneficiaries will not have to pay anything for the coronavirus vaccine, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). If you receive the emergency vaccine, the copayments/coinsurance and deductible would be waived.
The coronavirus has impacted millions of lives around the world. The CDC recommends wearing a face mask when out in public while staying six-feet-apart from others. If you begin to run a high fever, develop a dry cough, or have chest pain, contact your healthcare physician, or seek medical attention.