COVID-19 Pandemic & Medicare
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, both on the ground and at the legislative level, Medicare has made some changes to health care rules that advocates and recipients should be aware of. Likely, many of these changes will not linger once the crisis has passed, so it is critical to stay up-to-date to ensure you have accurate information regarding access to covered care.
Changes and Expansions to Medicare During the Pandemic
While the published guide is quite lengthy, here are some of the highlights, current as of May 2020:
- Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy can now be accessed through telehealth.
- Many behavioral health and patient education services can now be accessed by phone.
- Some health evaluation and management services have expanded availability and are now accessible by phone as well as video.
- Physician’s orders are no longer required for coronavirus testing, including antibody serology tests, to qualify for coverage under Medicare.
- Policies have expanded with regard to inpatient stays to protect all concerned.
- Definitions of outpatient services have been revised to allow more flexibility.
- Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations, including periods of quarantine.
For more detailed information, you can download a complete guide here.
The changes, though they might only be temporary, are meant to remove barriers to urgent and ongoing care during this time. The primary takeaway is that Medicare will pay for telehealth services offered by physicians, therapists, and various other practitioners.
Some beneficiaries could be charged a cost-sharing fee for such services, but your healthcare practitioner may choose to waive this fee. As always, it is a good idea to speak to a Medicare specialist in your area who can speak to your specific concerns.
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MedicarePlan.net helps you access the Medicare information you need to ensure you get the coverage you want. We connect you to licensed agents in your area who will answer all your questions and help you avoid unnecessary costs and delays.