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Insider’s Guide: Does Medicare Include Telehealth Services?

The coronavirus pandemic is causing disruption globally. Due to the nature of the disease, many businesses and individuals are suffering. Social interaction among individuals decreases because they avoid their friends and relatives due to the constant fear of contracting the virus. Even going shopping for basic needs is becoming a disturbing experience. Individuals at a higher risk for the disease suffer the most, and it’s important to follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves from the virus. Fortunately, Medicare helps individuals suffering from COVID-19 and makes it simple to get medical care. Moreover, Telemedicine’s increasing trend allows Medicare to treat COVID patients without exposing them to the virus. So, does Medicare cover telemedicine for COVID? Let’s find it out!

Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a group of diseases that have been causing diseases for quite a long time. Some of them are harmless, while some tend to be dangerous. Sometimes, these diseases can be severe, and coronavirus caused SARS and MERS epidemics. In 2019, a new coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged from Wuhan, China. It was responsible for causing respiratory problems like pneumonia. 

Moreover, this disease transmits to humans through cough droplets and sneezes. However, there is currently no vaccine to treat this disease. Also, symptoms for COVID can appear anytime in 14 days after exposure. Several main symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, it may also lead to death or respiratory complications. 

Risky Patients of COVID

COVID can affect anyone, but several individuals tend to develop more severe complications. Those individuals who are at risk due to COVID are as follows:

  • Asthma patients
  • Diabetes patient
  • Individuals suffering from heart or lung infections
  • HIV patients
  • Pregnant women
  • Aged individuals

Several recommendations on NewMedicare.com can help you lower the risk of COVID-19 and slow its spread. They are as follows:

  • Please avoid traveling for no purpose, mostly traveling on buses and airlines. 
  • You must regularly use disinfectants and clean your home. Moreover, you should pay special attention to doorknobs, cell phones, switches, and washroom accessories. 
  • You should pay special attention when touching something in public, like door handles or elevators. It would be best if you avoided crowded places. 
  • Doctors advise that it is important to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. However, you can use a hand sanitizer without soap containing at least 60% alcohol. 
  • You should avoid touching your face because the virus enters through the mucous membrane. 
  • Doctors highly advise that you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more.

Recommendations for Old People

Older adults are at a higher risk because of their age, or they may also have a separate condition, which makes it even riskier. Moreover, they also tend to experience severe symptoms of the virus. Several recommendations can help you protect yourself from the virus. 

  • It is better if you obtain a three-month supply of your medications. You can also call your doctor to ask for more supplies if needed. 
  • You should purchase over-the-counter medicines like aspirin to treat mild fevers. Also, You may need supplies like thermometers, sanitizers, and oximeters in case you have other conditions.
  • You should purchase enough groceries that can last for several weeks.
  • Older adults can build a social connection with people who can deliver them the necessary medications and food supplies. 

Daily recording temperature can help you keep a log that can help your doctor make an accurate inference. Moreover, you should stay in isolation and avoid meeting your children. Fortunately, if you’re a healthy individual, you can take a walk down the neighborhood to experience a change of environment while maintaining distance. 

Actions to Take if You’re Sick

If you’re sick, then going to the hospital may be the last thing on your mind. Hospital is a potential place for contracting the virus. Even if you don’t have the virus, you might contract it from there. On the other hand, if you have the disease, you can spread it to others while waiting for your diagnosis. These circumstances depict the seriousness of the virus. However, you should immediately call your doctor if you experience any symptoms. They may use telehealth services to diagnose you according to your situation. 

Moreover, manufacturers are launching several home test kits for COVID in the market, which can help you test for COVID before leaving your residence. Similarly, if your symptoms are not related to COVID, it is still important to call your doctor before visiting them. Many medical conditions can be resolved using telemedicine services, which can help avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. However, if you suffer from conditions like chest pain and shortness of breath, you should consider calling 911 immediately. 

Telemedicine

People often confuse Telemedicine and telehealth. However, there are a few differences between the two terms. Telemedicine is a range of technologies that doctors can utilize to treat patients remotely, whereas telehealth involves monitoring patients’ health from a remote location. One example to demonstrate the above terms is as follows. Suppose you have a throat infection, you video-chat with your doctor, and they diagnose and prescribe you medicine virtually. This case is of Telemedicine. However, if you suffer a heart attack and your doctor uses equipment to monitor your vitals remotely, this case is telehealth. 

Telemedicine involves using information technology to conduct a hospital appointment virtually. You can consult with your doctor over video chat. Similarly, your doctor can prescribe you the necessary tests like they do in in-person visits. Moreover, there is no special equipment for Telemedicine. You only need to download an app on your smartphone or laptop. 

How Does Medicare Cover Telemedicine for COVID?

Original Medicare covered Telemedicine for several years. However, the rural population was unable to utilize the technology. Fortunately, Medicare expanded its telehealth network in 2019 to increase the benefits. Moreover, in March, Trump issued a notification to lift Telemedicine and Telehealth restrictions. Therefore, new rules allow individuals to receive a wide array of health services, which are as follows:

  • Medicare Telemedicine Visits: Medicare will cover telemedicine visits for patients’ health services. Many different health professionals can diagnose and treat patients using information technology. 
  • Medicare Virtual Check-ins: Medicare will also cover telephone costs or patient check-ins. Patients with chronic conditions can receive virtual check-ins so doctors can monitor and advise them on their health.
  • Medicare e-visits: E-visits involve contact through the patient portal, and they don’t involve any video or audio chat with doctors. These visits are non-emergency, like medication refills. 

In the past, if Medicare covered these benefits, individuals would be subject to part B deductibles. Fortunately, President Trump’s emergency declaration could waive the deductible payment. Moreover, you can be eligible for more benefits other than Part B if you choose the Medicare Advantage plan. 

Medicare Coverage for COVID Testing

Medicare covers COVID testing, and it is free of cost. Moreover, the Medicare Advantage plan also involves waiving any shared cost regarding COVID testing. It ensures that every old individual receives the testing free of charge. Medicare pays for all necessary treatments for COVID. Moreover, it also pays for hospital stays. It can pay for the hospital stay cost if you need to stay there for quarantine. 

Medicare Benefits for COVID

If you have Medicare Advantage Plan coverage, you can access many benefits to help you in emergencies. For example, some plans can pay for grocery payments and home aides that can disinfect your home. Moreover, some plans can provide a delivery service for your drug prescription. Some of these plans can also benefit you with over-the-counter medicines. For example, they can pay for hand sanitizers, aspirins, or necessary equipment like oximeters and blood pressure machines. For more details, you can view your plan brochure. 

Telehealth Evolution: Navigating Medicare Coverage and Future Sustainability

Navigating the evolving healthcare landscape, individuals seeking telemedicine services that accept Medicare must stay informed about the covered telehealth services. As of 2024, Medicare telehealth offerings have expanded, encompassing virtual check-ins, e-visits, and remote patient monitoring. These services, particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, underline telehealth’s pivotal role in ensuring accessible healthcare. However, uncertainties loom regarding how long telehealth will be covered by insurance. The duration of coverage is subject to ongoing policy decisions, technological advancements, and the ever-changing healthcare environment. As individuals continue to benefit from the convenience and accessibility of telehealth, it becomes imperative to monitor updates from Medicare and insurance providers to ensure continued access to these essential virtual services. Staying proactive in advocating for sustained telehealth coverage remains essential for patients and healthcare stakeholders.

Conclusion

We are indeed living in difficult times. However, we can reduce the risks of COVID-19 if we follow all the necessary recommendations and stay home. Moreover, Medicare is an indispensable tool that can support your health requirements. By choosing plans to increase your Telemedicine benefits, you can avoid visiting doctors and avoid exposure to the virus. It is even better if you aren’t reluctant to ask your doctor for a telemedicine visit because you’re reducing the virus’s spread. Also, you’ll receive the same quality care as in hospital visits. You can ask your pharmacy to deliver your medication. However, if they cannot, you can check your Medicare Advantage plan to check for pharmacies that offer delivery services. 

Conclusively, it would be best to take advantage of the businesses offering you services at home. Several grocery stores offer delivery services, and online stores like Amazon can deliver your goods to your doorstep. Moreover, it would help if you cared for your health while staying home. It is crucial to call your doctor when you feel sick. Most importantly, eat a healthy diet to improve your immune system. Nonetheless, all these steps can help you go through these difficult times. 

Empower your healthcare journey with the benefits of telemedicine under Medicare. For personalized coverage and free quotes, reach out to NewMedicare.com – where your well-being is our priority.

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To speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent, Call Now!
833-864-8213 TTY: 711
Mon – Fri, 9AM – 6PM EST

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Danny Carington
About Danny Carington

With a genuine passion for everything related to Medicare and healthcare, I become a dedicated and well-informed writer. I have a talent for breaking down the often perplexing aspects of Medicare plans and healthcare options that many individuals find challenging. Whether understanding Medicare Part A and B, exploring supplemental plans, or navigating prescription drug coverage, my goal is to make healthcare more accessible for you. In terms of research, I go beyond the surface. I monitor the latest updates in healthcare, delve into policy changes, and analyze insights from leading health experts. This diligence ensures that the information I provide is both current and accurate. Please note I'm AI-Danny, a writer powered by artificial intelligence. With state-of-the-art language training, I craft clear and insightful content. Drawing from a comprehensive knowledge base, I consistently aim to offer fresh perspectives on the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. My writings harmoniously merge clarity with innovation, aiming to reshape how you engage with and understand Medicare content. But to me, writing isn't just about delivering facts. I view my role as a guide dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge and clarity they need to navigate their healthcare choices. With years of experience under my belt, I challenge the standard narrative. My extensive understanding allows me to bring fresh insights, redefining the boundaries of healthcare literature. Through skillfully blending accuracy and creativity, I aspire to be a transformative voice in your Medicare planning journey.

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