Hey Medicare Nation!
Medicare has taken many steps to assist you during the COVID-19 crisis.
1. CORONAVIRUS TESTS
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a test to see if you have coronavirus (officially called COVID-19). This test is covered when your doctor or other health care provider orders the test.
I spoke about testing for COVID-19 in the previous episode, dated April 1, 2020. Listen to episode 101 to learn more about COVID-19 Testing.
Your costs in Original Medicare for COVID-19 Testing.
You pay nothing for this test. NADA!
This includes the newly available COVID-19 “Antibody” test, which determines if you have antibodies in your blood, that were created to recognize the COVID-19 Virus in your body.
Medicare covers All medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and might have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but…instead, you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
Your costs in Original Medicare
3. VACCINE FOR COVID-19
At this time, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19.
However, If and when one becomes available, it will be covered by all MEDICARE Prescription Drug plans – Which is Part D of Medicare.
4. TELEHEALTH SERVICES
During the National Emergency for COVID-19, you will be able to receive a specific set of services through telehealth
These services include:
- Evaluation and management visits (common office visits),
- mental health counseling and
- preventive health screenings
- without a copayment if you have Original Medicare.
Your costs in Original Medicare
$0 Co-Pay if you have Original Medicare.
You can use your smartphone or computer to access Telehealth services.
5. VIRTUAL CHECK-INS
Virtual check-ins (also called “brief communication technology-based services”) with your doctors and certain other practitioners.
WHAT IS IT?
Virtual check-ins allow you to talk to your doctor or certain other practitioners, like nurse practitioners or physician assistants, using a device like your phone, integrated audio/video system on your laptop or computer, or captured video image without going to the doctor’s office.
Your doctor or other practitioner can respond to you using:
- Secure text messages
- Use of a patient portal
Virtual Check-Ins can be used for treatment for the Coronavirus from ANYWHERE……including places of residences….HOMES. Nursing Homes, AND Assisted Living Facilities.
THINGS TO KNOW
- You must talk to your doctor or other practitioner to start these types of visits.
- The communication must not be related to a medical visit within the past 7 days and must not lead to the medical visit within the next 24 hours (or the soonest appointment available).
- You must verbally consent to the virtual check-in, and your consent must be documented in your medical record.
- Since January 1, 2020 your doctor may obtain a single consent for a year’s worth of these services.
YOUR COSTS IN ORIGINAL MEDICARE
Normally, you would pay for “Virtual Visits” under Part B of Medicare.
During the National Emergency, your co-insurance and deductible will be waived, and you will have “No Co-insurance, or deductible” for Virtual Visits for COVID-19 services.
Certain Skilled Nursing Facility Care requirements have been waived during the National Emergency for COVID-19.
- During the COVID-19 Pandemic, some people may be able to get renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period.
- Original Medicare covers up to “100 consecutive days” in a Skilled Nursing Facility.”
For each benefit stay. During the National Emergency for COVID-19, your Doctor may request an extension of days for your benefit period.
- If you’re not able to be in your home during the COVID-19 pandemic or are otherwise affected by the pandemic, you can get SNF care without a qualifying hospital stay.
- If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described above and many plans have waived Hospital co-pays during the pandemic.
- Check with your plan about your coverage and costs for ALL services covered for COVID-19.
- Review your Summary of Benefit Booklet for 2020 from your Medicare Advantage Plan Carrier.
- Don’t have one……… Go to the plan’s website to download a digital copy. OR…… Call the Customer Service number on the back of your Identification card and ask them to mail you a “Formulary” for your Specific plan.
PREPARING FOR HEALTHCARE NEEDS
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies like tissues….cough drops…. Tylenol…etc. to treat fever and other symptoms.
- Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand…..Soup, Macaroni, and Cheese, Bread for Toast…. Whatever it is you will eat & drink when you’re sick….so that you’ll be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
Check out the following websites for updates on COVID-19
- Centers for Disease and Control – CDC.gov ….. has the latest public health and safety information from the CDC and for the medical and health provider community on COVID-19
- USA.gov – has the latest information about what the U.S. Government is doing in response to COVID-19.
Coronavirus.gov – is the source for the latest information about COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and answers to frequent questions.
- Visit your State Department of Health for local COVID-19 Information about YOUR State.
You can search on Google for your State’s Health Dept. by typing in ……… NY State Health Depart……… CA State Health Dept……..Florida State Health Depart……
Visit my website for a LIST of EVERY State Health Department’s Phone Number……
By going to www.TheMedicareNation.com/COVID19
Many of you are turning 65 and have no idea what to do to enroll in Medicare or what Plan to enroll in.
I invite you to contact me….. so that I can assist you with all this.
Send me your question to Support@TheMedicareNation.com
I answer ALL emails myself! No Assistants, NO Virtual Assistants….. I do!
I will answer your question in one paragraph. If I cannot, I will let you know how to contact me if you wish to reach out to me for a consultation.
Until next time……. Practice Social Distancing…..Do things to Make you Happy……. AND Stay Healthy!!
Thank you for listening to Medicare Nation!
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Thanks again for listening!
The information on this podcast and/or website is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional, which neither I nor anyone else associated with Medicare Nation LLC is not! Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment and/or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician and/or 911 immediately.
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