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TSS looks at Medicare changes post COVID-19

A Look at Medicare Post COVID-19

Since the global pandemic began, we’ve needed to make changes to our lifestyles and budgets. Learning how to adjust to challenges is a part of life, and we’re all in this together. You may know that people eligible for Medicare can be at greater risk of serious symptoms when getting the virus. Let’s talk about what to expect from Medicare — post-COVID in the U.S. 

Increased Telehealth for Medicare Recipients

The HHS has dropped previous restrictions applied to telemedicine under Medicare. The emergency waiver has let CMS expand the benefit for patients to get care at home.

Getting health care in your own home sounds convenient and comfortable. Plus, it’s not restricted to rural areas like it partially was before. 

For the remainder of the pandemic, CMS will remove restrictions so patients can stay healthy. Also, when people use telemedicine from home, it can lower the risk of spreading and contracting the virus.

The types of telemedicine services under Medicare are:

  • Telehealth visits
  • Virtual check-ins
  • E-visits

Thanks to the emergency waiver and advancements in technology, new patients can communicate with their medical providers through a telehealth visit. Telehealth often gives the provider more time with the patient due to filling out paperwork before the appointment. These additional benefits will likely continue after the pandemic ends.

Related Post: Can You Buy Health Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

More Accessible Mental Health Resources 

Telehealth services provided by clinical psychologists and licensed social workers also get coverage, making mental health care more accessible. Having easier access to this care will be a top priority in a post-COVID U.S. Abrupt quarantines, lengthy isolations, and general uncertainty have increased the need for therapy and counseling. 

A Shift to Value-Based Care

Since the pandemic started, CMS has focused on shifting to a value-based care system — which evaluated the quality of care above quantity. 

A fee-for-service system prioritizes care volume, but the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in this type of structure. A value-based approach sets goals of providing better health care for all. It confronts social variables that determine a population’s health.  

Post COVID-19 Testing on Medicare

Medicare Part B covers testing for COVID-19. You don’t need a doctor’s order to get tested so that beneficiaries may use drive-through testing centers. SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests also get coverage. These tests let patients know if the virus has previously infected them. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans have to provide the tests for COVID-19 and its antibodies. Since they’re diagnostic lab tests, Medicare doesn’t require cost-sharing for either one.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act rejects cost-sharing for testing-related services for COVID-19. The waiver includes online and in-person evaluations of probable symptoms.  

Note: It’s not clear if full coverage of testing will continue when the pandemic is over.

Medicare Coverage for a Future Vaccine

Vaccination isn’t available yet, but some possibilities are being developed. When a COVID-19 vaccine is publicly available, Medicare Part B or Part D should cover it. 

If Part B covers it, a practitioner must administer the vaccine — just like the flu shot. If Part D covers it, it can be self-administered — like the shingles vaccine.

Medicare Coverage for Home Health Services Post-COVID

Unfortunately, the virus has taken the lives of many elderly folks. Many Americans have passed away during their stay in a skilled nursing facility.  

Medicare offers skilled nursing facility care to people unable to stay in their homes — waiving the qualifying hospital stay requirement. Also, home health services have been given more flexibility during the pandemic. CMS may make more changes to HHS down the road to promote treatment in the home. 

FAQ

Does Medicare Cover You If You Get COVID?

Yes, Medicare will pay for the test in full. Part A will cover your care should you become hospitalized.

Are Your Medications for Treatment Covered If You Get COVID-19?

Medicare may cover any doctor-administered medications. However, you need Part D coverage to fill prescriptions at a pharmacy.

Will Medicare Cover COVID-19 Virtual Care?

Yes. Telehealth is one of the largest developments in Medicare due to the pandemic. 

Related Post: Six Frequently Asked Medicare Questions

Get Medicare Coverage Post COVID

Getting Medicare coverage post-COVID is the same as getting it before the virus outbreak. Here at Trusted Senior Specialists, we make it easy for you — giving you direct access to our agents over the phone. You can ask questions, get expert advice, and even begin the enrollment process. Call (855) 952-1941 or start a FREE plan comparison online.