Will Medicare Cover Coronavirus? 

Will Medicare Cover Coronavirus? 


The coronavirus is affecting millions around the world. It’s an illness that is easily spread from person to person. According to the World Health Organization, senior citizens have the highest risk of fatality from coronavirus.  If you’re a senior on Medicare, it’s normal to ask, how will Medicare cover coronavirus?

Medicare coverage for coronavirus

Coronavirus testing is essential during the pandemic to determine whether you have contracted the virus. There are two types of coronavirus tests available: The viral swab test for active virus and an antibody test to check if you’ve already had coronavirus. If your healthcare provider orders one of the two tests, it’s covered at 100% under Part B if the provider accepts Medicare. Your deductible and copay amounts are waived.

Medicare Part A is your hospital coverage for things such as a semi-private room, meals, medications, and supplies. Medicare will cover all medically necessary hospitalizations, which includes quarantining inside the hospital due to coronavirus. However, you will still be responsible for your deductible, copays, or coinsurance amounts.

The Part A deductible in 2020 is $1,408 for each benefit period, which means you could owe it several times a year. If you are released from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility, Medicare will cover the first 20 days of your visit at 100%. After day 20, you will pay a $176 daily copay. If you have a Medigap plan, your plan may cover these costs. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your cost-sharing may be different. 

Will Medicare cover a coronavirus vaccine?

Medicare Part B typically covers vaccines for illnesses, such as the flu. However, there is currently no FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine. If a vaccine becomes available, Medicare has stated that it will be covered under Medicare Part D.

Does Medicare cover Telehealth?

Telehealth is a communication platform that allows healthcare providers to treat you remotely. You can get the same services using telehealth that you can during an in-person office visit.  For example, your doctor can diagnose and treat an illness, provide routine wellness checks, and even conduct counseling and therapy sessions using telehealth.  You don’t need special equipment to use telehealth, a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer has all the technology you need. 

Telehealth is a great way for seniors to get the healthcare they need while avoiding unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus. Most healthcare providers now offer this service, so don’t be afraid to ask for a telehealth visit when you need to see the doctor. 

Because of the coronavirus risk, Medicare Part B covers telehealth services for all beneficiaries. This includes consultations, check-ups, psychotherapy, or other medical or health service your doctor recommends. Although some healthcare providers are waiving or reducing the cost of a telehealth visit, your coinsurance and deductible may still apply. Ask your provider about telehealth billing when you make your appointment. 

Medicare and durable medical equipment

Durable medical equipment (DME) is medical equipment you use to help with activities of daily living. . DME includes crutches, canes, oxygen tanks, and infusion pumps among other things. Due to the heightened risk from coronavirus, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made some changes in the way beneficiaries get their durable medical equipment benefits

Under the CARES Act, CMS will now pay more for certain DME items and services to try to help lower out-of-pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS is also waiving proof of delivery and signature requirements for covered DME until the public health emergency has ended. This will also help limit direct contact and exposure to the virus.

The coronavirus pandemic requires seniors to take new precautions in their daily lives to lower their risk of infection. Luckily, Medicare has also made changes to its coverage to accommodate the new normal. If you’re experiencing any coronavirus symptoms or need to see a doctor for other health conditions, Medicare covers the care you need. 

Frances Bailey