When the pandemic began, many Medicare members feared the costs associated with the virus would not be covered by their plans. However, the federal government acted quickly to ensure that recipients would be able to access care without paying extra money out of pocket.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that, even with the vaccines, “people 65 years of age and older have been at greater risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 compared to other age groups, and account for almost 80% of all deaths from COVID-19 as of September 29, 2021. “
Medicare Covid-19 coverage
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the organization responsible for managing the program, reported that the following services for covid-19 are included in the plans:
- Vaccines: All FDA-approved and approved covid-19 vaccines are available free of charge to recipients;
- Laboratory tests: Both, diagnostic tests as well as “certain tests for related respiratory conditions to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19 performed with the COVID-19 test”;
- FDA cleared antibody treatments;
- Monoclonal antibody treatments;
- Hospitalization: Hospital stays are covered, as well as any day a patient must stay in the hospital to self-quarantine; and
- Expanded telehealth services for the elderly and people with disabilities to continue to monitor their health during the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a third shot, or “booster, for the elderly and a number of other risk groups. During clinical trials, researchers found that among participants more than fifty-five, their antibody response one month after receiving “a booster dose of the vaccine compared to the response one month after the primary two-dose series in the same individuals demonstrated a booster response”.
At this point, all recommended reminders for the elderly will be covered by Medicare. People 65 and over are currently eligible to receive a booster.
Public health experts had said the majority of the population would be eligible to receive a booster by the end of September. However, the FDA has announced that it is continuing to review the data and so far there is no evidence that the third shot for younger and healthier people may be needed … for now.