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Medicare Is Updated for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Last update on: Jun 16 2020

Medicare expanded its coverage in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Telehealth services are the major additional benefit under Medicare. These services enable beneficiaries to consult with doctors and receive some types of treatment without having to leave their homes and visit medical facilities.

Telehealth services can be delivered through telephone, online via computers or other devices, or through similar technology. During the coronavirus emergency, Medicare will pay for telehealth services at the same rates as in-person services by doctors and other medical providers.

You might have a copay or deductible, depending on your Medicare plan and the medical services, but you won’t pay any more than you would for a standard office visit or other in-person service for the same medical need. Covered telehealth services include routine office visits, mental health counseling and preventive health screenings for cancer and other illnesses.The covered telehealth services are those delivered by doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists and licensed clinical social workers.

Covered telehealth services include those received in your home as well as in any health care facility, physician’s office, hospital, nursing home, or rural health clinic. That means, for example, if you visit a doctor’s office and the doctor decides you need to be referred to a specialist, you might be able to remain in the doctor’s office and consult with the specialist through telephone or computer.

In addition, Medicare is covering all the costs of COVID-19 tests ordered by doctors.

Regardless of the Medicare plan you are enrolled in, there should be no copay or other charge to you for doctor-ordered COVID-19 tests.Medicare already announced that once a vaccine for COVID-19 is avail-able, Medicare will cover the cost for all beneficiaries.

Medicare also is making it possible for its beneficiaries to be treated more easily and efficiently. It issued a 26-page list of rules that are being waived during the emergency. The rules apply to medical providers and provide details as to how and when care is to be delivered.



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