Medicare Health Insurance Broker Explains COVID-19 Coverage
Older adults are one of the groups most at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control, along with those who live in a long-term care facility or nursing home. Another group at higher risk includes those with underlying health conditions or suppressed immune systems. So, it’s understandable that many seniors have questions about coverage for treatment of the new virus, COVID-19. A Medicare health insurance broker can help you understand your benefits.
Co-Pays and Deductibles
The coronavirus is an illness like any other and as such, Medicare covers treatment of it. If you have co-pays and deductibles for medication, you’ll also have them for COVID-19 treatment. If you don’t have them, you won’t pay them for the virus either. Nothing is changed. Medicare also covers the cost of lab tests to determine whether you have contracted the virus.
Employer-Paid Sick Days and Vacation
If you are now at home through self-quarantine or due to a coronavirus-related lay-off, Medicare does not cover your lost income. Your company may work with you to claim sick days and vacation days while you’re home, but that is at the discretion of your employer. If you see a doctor during this period for any reason, the standard rules for payment of medical treatment apply.
Hospitalization for Coronavirus
For those who do contract COVID-19 and require hospitalization, it is considered an inpatient stay, with the same level of coverage as other inpatient stays. Depending on your coverage, you may incur some out-of-pocket costs; however, Medicare covers any treatment, including hospitalization, that is medically needed. This includes when you otherwise may have been discharged after recovery, but must remain at the hospital due to quarantine.
Medicare May Not Cover Alternative Medicine
Because the virus is new, there are not a lot of treatment options available. Several medications are now being explored for treatment, and you may have heard them suggested by government officials or your own doctor. Be careful about alternative medicines and experimental treatments that may not be covered by Medicare. If you have questions about specific coverage, it’s a good idea to check with your health insurance provider first.
Coverage for Immunization
Immunization for COVID-19 is not currently available. Although doctors and researchers are working hard to develop one, it may not be available for many more months. Should one become available, it will be covered as with other immunizations under Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, part D.
Medicare has temporarily extended coverage for telehealth services in relation to the coronavirus. This expansion covers virtual visits for evaluation and management of virus treatments with a variety of medical professionals, including mental health counselors. For those with Original Medicare, there is no co-pay for these services.
Help Understanding Medicare Coverage
Whether you are new to Medicare or a practiced user, it’s a good idea to check with a Medicare health insurance broker periodically for updates and changes in coverage. For help understanding how Medicare coverage works for coronavirus and other illnesses, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services today.