You have probably heard of Covid-19, also known as coronavirus, on the news every day in 2020. Covid-19 is an easily spread respiratory virus that has mild to severe symptoms. There have been over 16 million coronavirus cases in the United States, with over 300,000 deaths. However, over 9 million people have recovered from Covid-19 in America, according to Worldometer.
Although the virus has impacted millions worldwide, the virus has impacted the elderly and people with underlying health conditions the most.
Considering the coronavirus has impacted our senior citizens in the worst way, Medicare has made adjustments to its coverages. Many seniors have wondered what Medicare’s coverage is like during the pandemic or if Medicare will cover a Covid-19 test. Let’s discuss what Medicare’s coverage is like for Covid-19 victims.
Medicare and Covid-19 testing
If you begin developing any of the Covid-19 symptoms, such as high fever, dry cough, or loss of taste or smell, you may need to get tested for Covid-19. There are two Covid-19 tests available, which is a nasal swab and antibody test. These tests are done for a doctor to rule out or diagnose you with Covid-19.
Medicare Part B (outpatient coverage) covers both Covid-19 tests. Typically, you would pay either the Part B deductible or coinsurance when you receive outpatient services. However, you will not have any out-of-pocket costs for a Covid-19 test throughout the pandemic when a doctor or healthcare provider orders it.
If your Covid-19 test comes back positive and you have mild symptoms, the doctor will likely ask for you to quarantine inside your home for 14 days and give you flu and cold medicine. However, if your symptoms are severe, you may need to visit the hospital to ensure your safety.
Medicare and Covid-19 hospitalizations
If you were to become hospitalized due to severe Covid-19 symptoms, Medicare Part A would cover your inpatient services. Medicare Part A covers your hospital room, meals, medications, and more. However, you will have out-of-pocket costs if you become an inpatient.
For each hospital stay you have, you will pay the 2021 Part A deductible, which is $1,484. After you have paid the Part A deductible, you will only pay a copay if your inpatient stay exceeds 60 days.
Typically, when you are medically discharged from the hospital, Medicare does not pay for any additional inpatient stays. However, throughout the pandemic, doctors require some Covid-19 patients to have an extended hospital stay until they have a negative Covid-19 test. If that is the case, Medicare will cover those additional inpatient days, and you will not have any additional copayments.
Your doctor might refer you to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) if you need any additional care once you are discharged as an inpatient. Medicare Part A will cover skilled nursing if you were an inpatient for at least three days prior. Medicare pays 100% of your SNF stay for the first 20 days at the facility. If you stay longer than 20 days, you will have a $185.50 daily copayment for days 21-100.
Medicare and Covid-19 vaccines
There are a few countries that have a Covid-19 vaccine for their citizens. However, the United States has yet approved a Covid-19 vaccine. Some vaccines in America are in trial phases, while other vaccines are waiting for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval to be released to the public for emergency use.
When a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available in America, Medicare Part D will cover the vaccine. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), all Medicare Part D plans are required to list the vaccine on their formularies once a vaccine is available. If you receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Medicare will cover all cost-sharing expenses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all citizens wear a face mask and social distance 6-feet apart from others when out in public to help stop the spread of Covid-19. There is a long road ahead in combatting Covid-19, so if you begin to experience any of the Covid-19 symptoms, know that Medicare will cover a Covid-19 test and your outpatient and inpatient care.