Medicare and COVID-19

Posted November, 9 2020 by Amanda Dunker

Policymakers in New York are doing everything they can to protect New Yorkers from medical debt because of the coronavirus public health emergency. New Yorkers are enrolled in so many different types of health insurance that it can be hard to know when a COVID-19 protection applies to you. To help, HCFANY and the Medicare Rights Center have released a new flier explaining coverage of services related to coronavirus and accessing care during a public health emergency for people with Medicare.

What are those protections? For one, if you are enrolled in Medicare you should never have to pay a co-pay or coinsurance for COVID-19 testing. If you receive a bill for a COVID-19 test or follow-up appointment, ask the provider why – and if you can’t get them to fix it, call one of New York’s consumer assistance programs (like the Community Health Advocates) for help.

There are also safeguards so that you can access other types of health care safely. That includes coverage of telehealth visits that matches your coverage for in-person visits. It also includes a waiver of referral requirements and in-network charges for out-of-network care so that you can use the provider that is nearest and safest for you to use without worrying about out-of-network charges. Find out more by reading the fact sheet here:

New York and the other states still need more from the federal government. Some of the proposals could increase protections and help for people with Medicare, like Heroes 2.0 which was already passed by the House. Heroes 2.0. prioritizes people with Medicare by:

  • Establishing a coronavirus-specific Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period
  • Ensuring affordability is not a barrier to treatment 
  • Improving nursing home and resident safety
  • Supporting community living and state Medicaid programs 
  • Providing targeted financial relief to individuals and families

HEROES 2.0 may be considered in the Senate sometime this week.