Answers to health coverage questions about COVID-19

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Medicare and Medicare Supplement Health Insurance is available to help people cover expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Here are some answers to common questions about Medicare coverage during the pandemic.

Is a test for COVID covered by Medicare?

Yes, in the same way as any other Medicare eligible expense would be: Medicare will cover 80 percent of the fee for the test. Medicare participants who own supplement insurance, commonly known as Medigap or a Med Sup, will have the remaining 20 percent covered by this policy.

If I test positive for COVID-19, will Medicare cover my medical expenses?

Medicare will cover medical care associated with “medically necessary hospitalizations” after a patient has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. Typical deductibles per hospitalization will apply and are the responsibility of the patient. Medigap insurance would then cover the patient responsibility portion. Participants should note that Medicare does not cover costs related to long-term nursing home care, even if related to COVID-19.

I have Part A but delayed enrolling in Part B. I lost my employer-provided health insurance because of COVID-19. What can I do?

There’s good news for people who delayed enrollment in Medicare and, because of factors related to COVID-19 such as job loss, need Part B health insurance coverage. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), and the proof of insurance requirements for enrolling have been relaxed. Visit www.ssa.gov/coronavirus to find enrollment forms that include a request for a COVID-19 related SEP. A coverage note: you must be enrolled in Medicare Part B if you want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Health Insurance plan.

COVID-19 Medicare scams to be aware of.

I’m afraid to go to the hospital or clinic for medical treatment. What are my options through Medicare?

People are afraid to go to medical facilities where the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus might be higher. It’s an understandable fear. Medicare has responded to this by temporarily expanding the telehealth and virtual health offerings it will cover under Part B, while waiving related deductibles and co-pays. This includes certain medical evaluations, preventative screenings and mental health services that are not related to the coronavirus. To learn more, visit www.medicare.gov/coverage/virtual-check-ins. Check with your doctor or clinic to learn which telehealth options are available to you through Medicare.

If someone calls to offer me a COVID-19 test and asks for my Medicare card number or supplement insurance information, what should I do?

Hang up. The person is most likely a scammer who will steal your Medicare number or other information provided to them. If you want to take a COVID-19 virus test, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you talk to your doctor or clinic. Testing is currently run by state and local authorities, and not by Medicare.

If you have additional questions about your Medicare Supplement Health Insurance coverage and COVID-19, please contact us: medsupp@catholicunited.org or 651-765-6555.