Got Your COVID Vaccine? Looking Ahead to a Post-Pandemic World

Medicare Benefits Solutions
May 16, 2021

As coronavirus has affected millions of people across the globe, there’s a great amount of uncertainty regarding the care you’ll need in order to recover.

One of the biggest things people wonder is that if they get the coronavirus and end up in the hospital with complications, will Medicare benefits pay for the costs? Being sick is stressful enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about how the financial impact your hospital stay or medical expenses will have.

Medicare Benefits and Coronavirus Treatment

Most people who get COVID-19 will have mild cases. However, severe cases require emergency treatment. If you go to the emergency department, Medicare Part B will cover your visit. It also covers the cost of physician visits or ambulance rides. 

If your treatment requires being admitted to the hospital, Medicare Part A will provide coverage. Most people won’t have to worry about their premiums for Part A. For each benefit period, Part A has a deductible of $1,484 for 2021. 

Along with these deductible costs, you’ll also have to think about copayments that are associated with hospital stays that go beyond 61 days. For every day between days 61 and 90, you’ll have a $352 copayment. For your lifetime reserve days, you’ll have a daily copayment of $704.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll have the same coverage as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but you may get additional benefits. MA plans have out-of-pocket annual maximum limits, and most plans have prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Coverage for Coronavirus Testing

A lot of people want to get tested to see if they have the virus. Medicare benefits do cover this testing, and it can be conducted at hospital off-site locations, drive-through locations, and community testing sites. Medicare covers testing for current infections using swab tests and serology tests to determine whether or not you have the virus antibodies in your blood. They fall under Medicare Part B. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it also provides coverage. 

For most diagnostic tests and services, Medicare recipients will have to pay toward the Part B deductible and 20% of the coinsurance. However, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has gotten rid of any out-of-pocket costs for testing for Medicare recipients. This means that there isn’t any coinsurance payment for this testing, and it won’t impact your deductible amount. 

If you have symptoms, Medicare will cover in-person or telehealth visits to the doctor’s office, urgent care, emergency department, or hospital observation unit. If your doctor sends you to get a test for the coronavirus, Medicare will cover all of your associated costs. 

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Coronavirus Vaccine Coverage

There is now a vaccine for the coronavirus, and Medicare allows you to get it without any charge. Generally speaking, this is a preventative vaccine, so Part B covers them. Also, the deductible payments and coinsurance don’t apply. 

If you are wondering how much does it cost to get tested for COVID — the nasal swab test for coronavirus costs roughly $150, and the antibody test costs roughly $140 without any insurance coverage. This can vary depending on whether you get a send-out or rapid test, and your location will also cause the price to fluctuate.

COVID and Traveling Restrictions

Depending on where you live, you may be finding that your options have expanded recently in terms of activities and social gatherings. Indoor dining may now be offered alongside outdoor patio seating at your favorite restaurant.

You may not be subject to quarantine rules while traveling, and you may not even have to wear a mask outside. Social distancing measures may still be in place, but amusement parks, theaters and venues may be open at partial capacity. Soon, you may be able to attend a Broadway show or celebrate at  a friend’s wedding.

Travel rules may vary depending on how and where you are going. Before heading to the airport, train station, or even packing your car for a road trip, check your destination for any changes in COVID-related travel restrictions.

If you are flying, consult with your airline before departure to make sure you are abiding by any laws, including mask requirements. International travel has opened up a bit as people globally are receiving the vaccine, but many places are still struggling to get the pandemic under control.

Some countries are allowing fully vaccinated tourists to visit, while others will require a quarantine period upon arrival. COVID testing is still required before departure in many places, so make sure you do your research before planning a trip.

Your local or state public health agency may continue to have rules in place to protect its citizens from spikes in the pandemic. Stay aware of any changes by checking your local and state public health agency’s website, as well as the CDC. 

Got Your COVID Vaccine? Looking Ahead to a Post-Pandemic World

If you are like millions of Americans, you may have already completed your two-dose or single dose COVID vaccination. Medicare recipients have been eligible to receive their shots at no cost. Many people are in the process of scheduling their shots as federal, state, and local agencies are working to provide access to those who are home-bound or live in remote areas. Contact your local health department for more information if you have any concerns or questions regarding where to find a vaccination site.

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