Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Tests?

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COVID-19 tests will be covered under certain Medicare plans.

As a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 has been all over the news.

The value of COVID-19 testing is emphasized by healthcare workers across the country.

Although these tests are important, they raise a number of questions.

What are they?

According to a recent CNBC article titled “Medicare will cover coronavirus tests. Here’s how to get one if you think you have symptoms,” the two prominent questions center on how one gets tested and whether insurance will pay for it.

COVID-19 tests are covered by Medicare.
Medicare Part B covers COVID-19 tests under certain circumstances.

These questions are especially important for older populations on Medicare plans.

Seniors are counted among those most vulnerable to the virus.

For this reason, many Seniors may require COVID-19 testing.

There is good news.

Medicare Part B and some large Advantage Plan providers are trying to help.

How so?

They are waiving preauthorization requirements and copays usually applied to diagnostic testing.

If you have an Advantage Plan, you will still want to check with your provider to ensure testing is covered.

You may yet owe a copay or coinsurance payment for your visit to the doctor.

Additional costs may be incurred depending on the treatment required should you test positive for COVID-19.

Although Medicare Part B covers COVID-19 test lab services, you must have a medical reason for it.

Even so, it is likely doctors will label a test as necessary if they are at all concerned.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

This, according to the World Health Organization:

People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
More rarely, the disease can be serious and even fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.

The virus seems to present similarly to influenza.

Unlike the flu, however, there is no vaccine at present.

In fact, a vaccine may not be available for another year.

For COVID-19 there are no antiviral medications available to minimize progression if caught early.

What options do you have?

The CDC recommends older and immunocompromised individuals to stock up on supplies needed for a long haul, maintain social distance from people, avoid touching their faces, and wash their hands frequently.

If there are cases near you, stay at home.

What should you do if you start experiencing symptoms?

Call your doctor by phone.

Your physician will then decide whether to have you tested.

If your doctor believes you should be tested, he or she will contact the local health department or the CDC for instructions on getting a test.

What can you expect from a COVID-19 test?

Depending on where the test is administered, it may involve a blood draw or swab.

Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are making testing kits available across all 50 states.

With the number of confirmed cases climbing, take precautions to protect yourself and those you love.

We are all in this together.

Stay calm and carry on.

Reference:  CNBC (March 10, 2020) “Medicare will cover coronavirus tests. Here’s how to get one if you think you have symptoms”

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