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does Medicare cover Covid testing

Does Medicare Cover Covid Testing?

Though there may be some light at the end of the tunnel this current pandemic, we still have a way before we get back to normal. And to help this return to normal, if you ever feel any symptoms of Covid-19, it is best to undergo a test as soon as possible. This is so you can take the best care of yourself and others. And so you can go into quarantine so you don’t risk spreading it to more people. 

So a common question many people have is, “does Medicare cover Covid testing?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of tests for Covid-19 and other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Covid Testing?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of Covid-19 testing. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your Covid-19 test. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for Covid-19 tests. Coverage for Covid-19 tests is provided by Medicare Part B. Even if you are staying in a nursing home, which may be covered by either Part A or Part C, coverage for Covid-19 tests is still provided by Part B. 

On April 20, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or also known as CMS, announced that they would double Medicare reimbursement payments to $100 for labs that use antigen tests. This is to make it easier for labs to test as many people as they can. 

However, for Medicare Part B to provide coverage for your Covid-19 tests, it must first be ordered by your healthcare provider. If you cannot leave your home to visit your healthcare provider, but you think you need to undergo a Covid-19 test, you can try to ask for a prescription from him/her through a telehealth appointment. Telehealth appointments are covered by both Medicare Part B and Medicare Part C. 

Medicare Part B covers 100 percent of the costs of your Covid-19 test. That means you will no longer pay a copayment or coinsurance. 

Part C and Part D Coverage for Covid Testing

Aside from tests, Original Medicare, Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D, and Medigap will provide coverage for any Covid-19-related costs. 

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for covid testing. These plans will cover everything Original Medicare covers. But they will usually offer additional benefits as well. However, exactly what these plans cover and how much you pay out-of-pocket for these benefits will vary depending on the specifics of your plan. 

Medicare Part D provides coverage for medications for treating Covid-19. Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan, and just like Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plans are provided by private insurance companies.

How Much Does It Cost To Undergo A Covid-19 Test?

The cost of a Covid-19 test can range from $0 to over $400. However, the average cost ranges between $100 to $149.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover dementia care at home?

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