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Does Medicare Cover Coronavirus Testing?

Does Medicare Cover Coronavirus Testing
15 Mar 2020

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person contact. It was first identified and originated in Wuhan, China in 2019. The risk of infection of this virus is higher for people who come into contact with someone who has Coronavirus (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It may also be spread by touching an infected surface and then touching one’s own mouth, nose, or eyes. Others who are at a higher risk are those who have been or are currently in an area where an ongoing spread is happening.

Those with Coronavirus will experience mild to severe respiratory illness with other symptoms that include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Severe complications can occur with this illness. For instance, some people will develop pneumonia in both lungs, organ failure, and even death from this illness.

This illness is now considered a pandemic. Although the risk of contracting Coronavirus or experiencing severe illness remains relatively low for most Americans, this virus does reek for havoc on individuals with weakened immune symptoms as well as older people.

Is Testing Covered for Coronavirus?

If a person does have a Medicare plan and would normally be faced with a copay for diagnostic testing, there is good news for you. The major insurers have agreed to waive and copays involved in Coronavirus testing. Some insurers have even decided to waive prior authorization that would generally be required for testing. There are even attempts to expand this coverage to telemedicine for individuals who may be in a high-risk population that way they can still consult with a doctor without having to go to a doctor’s office. However, if there is an appointment involved in getting the test, patients still may have to pay a copay or coinsurance, dependent upon the specific Medicare coverage they have. The costs could also depend on whether or not you actually have the virus or if you need additional medical treatment.

If you know you have been infected, there are ways to keep yourself from spreading this illness with others by:

  • Staying at home while you are sick and self-quarantine.
  • Cover your mouth when you are coughing or sneezing with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue away.
  • Clean and disinfect objects or surfaces that are frequently touched.

If you are not sick yet, there are always preventative measures you can take to stay healthy such as:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Social distancing; stay away from high traffic areas.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with dirty hands.
  • Wash your hand often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

There is no vaccination or treatment at this time for the Coronavirus. However, you can seek medical attention to treat and relieve the symptoms involved with this illness.