The latest strain of coronavirus, called COVID-19, was recently deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). There is not yet enough information available to calm the fears of the masses. There is, however, help for individuals diagnosed with the illness.
Medicare pays for certain treatments related to COVID-19. What exactly is the illness, though? and, who is more susceptible to the illness? Read this guide to learn more about COVID-19 and the services provided by Medicare related to the illness.
1. What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus is not a singular disease in itself but rather a collection of viruses that come in various forms. Some coronavirus infections cause diseases while others pass through the body in a similar fashion as the common cold or influenza. The latest strain of coronavirus, which began in China could lead to COVID-19.
2. What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the latest strain of coronavirus. The illness emerged in China in December 2019 with the biggest outbreak occurring in Wuhan.
3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Some symptoms of COVID-19 include:
– Shortness of Breath
Some individuals do not undergo testing for COVID-19 because the symptoms of the disease are similar to influenza. The illness, however, comes with more severe consequences, which does not exclude death from complications.
4. How does COVID-19 spread?
Coronavirus is spread from person to person. Many medical professionals find that symptoms may show up in infected individuals within 14 days of exposure.
5. What is the best thing to do if diagnosed?
There is currently no vaccine available for those diagnosed with COVID-19. Individuals can, however, prevent the communal spread of the illness by quarantining themselves if diagnosed and practicing good hygiene.
Many experts find that consistent hand washing coupled with coughing in the bend of the elbow is the best protection against the spread of COVID-19. It is also essential that individuals who are sick remain at home instead of coming to work or school. Those who enter the main population while sick present a higher risk of spreading illnesses not limited to COVID-19.
6. How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
Contrary to some speculations, there is no at-home kit to diagnose coronavirus on the spot. Individuals must undergo laboratory tests to establish whether or not they have the illness. Testing requires a waiting period, which means that individuals are not immediately diagnosed.
7. Does Medicare cover COVID-19?
Medicare provides coverage for testing as well as quarantine for COVID-19. Patients do not have to pay for these procedures related to the illness. Quarantine coverage extends to individuals currently hospitalized who are set to be released from the hospital for a condition not related to coronavirus. These individuals may remain hospitalized with treatments as well as residency paid by Medicare if testing for COVID-19 returns positive.
8. What about those with Medicare Advantage?
The average person with Medicare Advantage shares in the cost of medical treatments. Those diagnosed with coronavirus, however, may have all procedures related to testing and treatments paid without paying from personal finances. COVID-19 is considered special circumstances because of its present status as a pandemic. As such, the cost-sharing aspect of Medicare Advantage will be waived for those tested for and diagnosed with the illness.
9. Does Medicare cover virtual check-ins?
Some diagnosed individuals return home for self-quarantine measures. These patients do not want to come out of the house even for doctor’s appointments. Virtual check-ins allow diagnosed patients to undergo meetings with their physicians via online portals. Doctors may not be able to administer all treatments via virtual meetings. Physicians can, however, analyze the condition of patients enough to recommend an in-person check-up.
Individuals desiring virtual check-ins must verbally consent to such care. Medicare treats the appointments as if they were standard in-person check-ins. Patients only need to satisfy their co-payments to qualify for online meetings.
10. Who is at a higher risk of developing COVID-19?
Anyone can develop COVID-19. Individuals over the age of 65 years old, however, are at higher risks of infection. Those with compromised immune systems may also be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. All persons with flu-like symptoms that linger or grow significantly worse should seek medical attention.
The details about the latest strain in the coronavirus family are still developing. There is no vaccine for COVID-19, but there are steps that individuals can take to prevent the further spread of the disease. Medicare pays for testing and treatments related to coronavirus infections. Patients should contact their providers for more information.
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Also, check out our article on Understanding Medicare Part D for better medical billing practices
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