The coronavirus has infected over eight million people in the United States, with over 200,000 deaths, according to WorldoMeter. Eight out of ten coronavirus deaths have been adults who are age 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Because seniors are especially vulnerable to the disease, Medicare has made changes and adjustments to its coverage. Many people have asked, “Does Medicare cover treatment for coronavirus?” The answer to this question is yes, but there are many things to consider.
What is the coronavirus?
The coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, is an upper respiratory illness that easily spreads through respiratory droplets released in the air from a cough, sneeze, or talking. The droplets typically travel up to six feet, according to the CDC.
There are many coronavirus symptoms, but the most common are high fever, dry cough, chest pain, and loss of taste and/or smell. In severe cases, the disease can result in kidney failure or death. However, the vast majority of people recover from COVID
Medicare coverage for coronavirus
A coronavirus test helps doctors determine if you have coronavirus or not. The swab test will tell you if you have coronavirus right now, while the antibody (serology) test will show if you have the antibodies from the virus, meaning that you have had the virus and recovered. Medicare Part B will cover both tests at 100% for Medicare beneficiaries.
Typically, when you receive an outpatient service, you would pay the Part B deductible or coinsurance. When you receive a coronavirus test, you will pay nothing when you get it from a laboratory, doctor, pharmacy, hospital, or specific drive-thru locations.
If your coronavirus test results come out positive, you must stay home and quarantine until your doctor tells you it is okay to resume normal activities. If your symptoms worsen, you may have to go to the hospital for medical treatment.
Medicare and coronavirus hospitalizations
Medicare Part A is hospital and skilled nursing facility coverage. If you were to become critically ill and need inpatient care, Part A will cover your room, meals, medications, and lab services while you’re in the hospital.
The Part A deductible $1,408 in 2020 Medicare will only cover up to 60 days inside the hospital. If your stay is longer than 60 days, you would pay a $352 daily copayment for days 61 through 90.
If you’re medically eligible for discharge but you need to continue quarantine inside the hospital, Medicare will cover those days, as well. If your doctor recommends a period of recovery at a skilled nursing facility, Medicare covers the first 20 days at 100%. If you exceed 20 days, you will have a daily copayment of $176 for days 21 through 100. If you have a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan, your plan may help with these additional costs.
Medicare and coronavirus vaccine
There is not a coronavirus vaccine available in the United States yet, but there are many different vaccinations that are in trial phases at this moment. However, when and if a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, Medicare will cover it.
The coronavirus has impacted millions of people across the world. But know that if you were to become ill from the coronavirus, Medicare will cover your treatment. If you begin to develop a high fever, dry cough, or chest pain, reach out to your healthcare provider, and seek medical attention.