Medicare Beneficiaries Who Contract Coronavirus Might Pay for It

The Trump administration has made great efforts to make sure that Medicare beneficiaries and the elderly have been well taken care of during this Coronavirus pandemic through granting access to telehealth, approving more funding for senior food aid, and other advocacies. But is it enough? Seniors who have fallen ill to COVID-19 could be facing deductibles and copays that come with a hospital stay and accompanying treatment. 

While some Medicare beneficiaries have additional insurance that covers the program’s out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles, others pay more than their peers for hospital stays and various medical services.

For the 62 million people enrolled, most of whom are age 65 or older, the Coronavirus generally poses a greater health risk. For those who are more at risk to COVID-19, complete and total Medicare is necessary for potential COVID-19 treatment, extended hospital stays, and other medical assistance. 

The facts

About 37.5 million beneficiaries stick with the most basic, original Medicare plan. Many of them have additional coverage like Medicaid, an employer plan, or a supplemental policy (Medigap).

Basic Medicare, which can come with out-of-pocket spending, consists of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care)

Outpatient medical services, like doctor’s visits, are delivered through Part B. It comes with a $198 deductible fee and Medicare beneficiaries typically only pay about 20% of covered services.

Since it was last researched, 6.1 million beneficiaries do not have additional coverage beyond basic Medicare. This means that over 6 million people are paying $1,408 out of pocket for their Part A deductible per hospital stay.

While Congress and regulators have eliminated out-of-pocket payments for COVID-19 testing, hospital stays and other treatments are not covered if COVID-19 is contracted. 

What now?

If you have a Medigap policy, many of these costs will be covered, either partially or fully. However, Medigap policies have their own rules such as limiting who has access to them, and they cost an additional several hundred dollars to your monthly bill. 

Although it is encouraging to see a higher number of people recovering from the coronavirus without requiring significant medicare care, there are still additional costs that could come with Medicare coverage if one is treated for COVID-19. 

Regulators have instructed Medicare Advantage Plans that operate in states with emergency declarations in place to cover services at out-of-network facilities and charge the in-network rate.

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