How Medicare is Responding to the Challenges of COVID-19

Because people age 65 or older are at a higher risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19, Medicare has temporarily eased many regulations and limitations to provide greater and more flexible access to all healthcare services, including those that are not pandemic-related. Here are some of the key changes.

  • Medicare covers all lab tests for COVID-19 free of charge.
  • Medicare covers FDA-authorized COVID-19 antibody tests if you were diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection or are suspected of being infected now or at some point in the past.
  • Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations for COVID-19 infections, including quarantines. You will still need to pay for any applicable hospital deductibles, copayments, or co-insurances.
  • Medicare has expanded its coverage of telehealth services to give you virtual access to many ervices provided by doctors and other practitioners from the safety of your home. These services don’t have to be COVID-19 related. For example, if Medicare was covering the costs of your in-person sessions with a physical or occupational therapist before the pandemic began, Medicare may still cover sessions conducted via computers or mobile devices.
  • Medicare now covers medically necessary care provided by hospitals at alternative sites that aren’t currently considered part of a healthcare facility.
  • Medicare is temporarily waiving certain requirements for skilled nursing facility care.
  • Medicare will cover the costs of COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available.
  • Medicare Part D plans must cover the costs of up to 90-days’ worth of covered drugs. Part D sponsors must also cover the costs of drugs purchased at out-of-network pharmacies if the beneficiary is unable to use an in-network pharmacy.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll have access to these same benefits.

Keep in mind that some or all of these temporary provisions may be rescinded when the pandemic is no longer a threat. For more detailed information on Medicare’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, visit the Medicare and Coronavirus site.

 

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult with a qualified Medicare consultant to better understand your options.

 

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This article was authored by Joelle Spear and Jeffrey Briskin. Joelle is a financial advisor and Partner located at Canby Financial Advisors, 161 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01701. She offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. She can be reached at 508.598.1082 or [email protected]. Jeffrey Briskin is Director of Marketing at Canby Financial Advisors.

 

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