Medicare and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
Last Updated: March 17, 2021
With the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), being informed about your Medicare coverage is more important than ever.
Medicare recently expanded its coverage of telehealth services. Telehealth enables beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. It also helps frontline clinicians stay safe themselves while treating people.
If your doctor orders a COVID-19 test for you, Medicare covers all of the costs. You should not have any co-pay, no matter what Medicare plan you’re enrolled in. There’s no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time, but when one becomes available, Medicare will cover it.
Medicare also covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes extra days in the hospital for in-patients who were on the verge of being discharged, but were diagnosed with COVID-19 and had to stay longer under quarantine.
Doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers can deliver telehealth services. Medicare beneficiaries can receive telehealth services in their home, as well as in any healthcare facility, a physician’s office, hospital, nursing home, or rural health clinic.
Telehealth services can include routine office visits, mental health counseling, and preventive health screenings for cancer and other illnesses.
By helping healthcare institutions across the nation offer medical services remotely, telehealth helps free up hospital emergency departments and doctors’ offices to deal with the most urgent COVID-19 cases.
During this emergency, Medicare will pay for telehealth services at the same rates as in-person services, giving doctors and other medical professionals the opportunity to reserve their offices to treat those who truly require in-person care.
We know many Medicare beneficiaries are concerned about the spread of coronavirus and the threat it poses to their well-being. That’s why we’ve taken these rapid steps to ensure that the Medicare program continues to protect our beneficiaries while maintaining trusted access to care in these uncertain times.
To learn about Social Security services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page.