Medicare covers residents’ COVID-19 needs

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Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19 with no out-of-pocket costs. Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations, including if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine. You pay your usual Medicare coinsurance and deductible for these services.

At this time, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).

Although Medicare will pay laboratory technicians to travel to a beneficiary’s home to collect a specimen for COVID-19 testing, eliminating the need for the beneficiary to travel to a healthcare facility for a test and risk exposure to themselves or others, this service is not offered on island at this time.

Telehealth & Related Services

Medicare also pays for “virtual check-ins”—brief, virtual services with your physician or certain practitioners where the communication isn’t related to a medical visit within the previous 7 days and doesn’t lead to a medical visit within the next 24 hours (or soonest appointment available).

You need to consent verbally to using virtual check-ins and your doctor must document that consent in your medical record before you use this service. You pay your usual Medicare coinsurance and deductible for these services.

Medicare also pays for you to communicate with your doctors using online patient portals. Like the virtual check-ins, you must initiate these individual communications with your primary medical provider.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has set up a webpage via Medicare.gov with information for Medicare beneficiaries related to the Coronavirus at https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus

Beware of Medicare Scammers

Scammers may use the coronavirus national emergency to take advantage of people. As always, guard your Medicare card like a credit card, check Medicare claims summary forms for errors, and if someone calls asking for your Medicare Number, hang up!

For more information, contact the DPHSS Division of Senior Citizens, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at (671) 735-7421/7415 or send an email to chad.palomo@dphss.guam.gov.

For inquiries on COVID-19, contact 311 through a local number, or call the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10.

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