COVID-19 has affected so many aspects of our lives. It is hard to know what to expect which has contributed to a lot of anxiety, especially surrounding our health. If you add in the factor or the that age and pre-existing conditions have played in the trajectory of this disease, there is no mystery why Medicare beneficiaries might be struggling to cope with some of the stressors associated this global health crisis. Here is some information on commonly asked questions concerning Medicare and Covid-19. Knowledge is power!
How does Medicare cover testing for COVID-19 and where can you get tested
Medicare covers testing for COVID-19 under Part B and you are able to visit various testing locations, including some “drive-thru” sites. The Center for Disease Control offer a database of testing sites across the country. You can click here to find sites in your area. To learn about testing availability in your area, you could also call your local or state health department. If you reside in Massachusetts you can sign up for text alerts to your smart phone. If you reside in Connecticut there is a helpful page offered by state government which outlines different ways to access support. In addition, Medicare Advantage plans cannot charge copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance for clinical lab tests to detect or diagnose COVID-19.
At this time Medicare also covers Covid-19 anti-body tests. You can take these tests at home, or at a testing site.
It is also important to know is that a provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act limited cost sharing with testing related to the virus.
How can I access from my PCP or specialist while minimizing my exposure to Covid-19?
As you may already know Medicare is covering telemedicine appointments. Some people are intimidated by using a video conference application to engage virtually with their providers. If you fall into this category it is worth asking if your provider could hold the appointment over the telephone. In addition to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage will also cover telemedicine. It’s an excellent resource that saves time and in this case really could help prevent contracting the virus.
Can my Medicare plan help with additional items and food access during this difficult time?
Some Medicare Advantage plans do offer meal deliveries and you can work with your PCP to help access these. They often do require a prescription. Over the counter products (OTC) are often included in Medicare Advantage plans in some capacity. This can be useful for buying hand-sanitizer or products like vitamins to help maintain your health.
Other ways to ensure your physical and emotional health during this global crisis:
· Reach out to your family and friends for support getting items you might need or just to talk. Make a list of people you can rely on in your family and friend circle.
· Check in with your providers to see how they are practicing these days It’s always good to know your options and what to anticipate should you need to schedule an appointment. In person procedures and visits are more common in recent weeks but things do continue to change so it’s good to know the protocol and all of your options.
· Consider using your pharmacy’s home delivery option. Often times this is free of charge. Fill your prescriptions for 90-days when possible and if you need to visit the pharmacy, use the drive-thru.
If all else fails and you’re still struggling to understand how your Medicare plan can be most useful during this time you can call your insurance broker. If you are an existing DH Retirement Solutions client you know we are will always do our best to make sure you feel safe and secure with your