As a result of these unprecedented times, there have been a number of changes made to Medicare as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these changes are temporary and will presumably subside after the announcement of the end of the declared public health emergency.
Below is a list of some of the major changes that have been made to Medicare in response to COVID-19.
Testing. Testing for COVID-19 ordered after Feb. 4, 2020, is covered under traditional Part B when ordered by a physician or other health care provider. Beneficiaries are not required to pay the Part B deductible or any related co-insurance.
Treatment. If a Medicare patient is required to be quarantined in the hospital even if they no longer require acute care, they will not be required to pay an additional deductible for the cost of the quarantine.
Vaccines. Part B is required to fully cover a COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available.
Telemedicine. Telemedicine services are now available to beneficiaries in any geographic area and will be reimbursed by Medicare. CMS has also waived the requirement that a provider of telemedicine must have treated the beneficiary in the past three years.
Extended medication supplies. Part D plans must provide up to a 90-day supply of covered drugs to beneficiaries who request it. Part D sponsors are also required to cover drug purchases at out-of-network pharmacies if beneficiaries cannot be reasonably expected to use a network pharmacy.
House Democrats Push Through 1st bill in a Decade Expanding the
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
On Monday June 29th, the House passed the first significant expansion of the Affordable Care Act since its birth a decade ago. The 234-179 vote, almost entirely along party lines, was a hollow exercise in terms of any chance the bill would become law and reshape federal health policy. Moments after the debate began, the White House announced the president would veto the legislation if it reached his desk, though a wall of Senate Republican opposition to the measure makes that a moot point.
Monday’s vote symbolized that House Democrats have a path to make health insurance and treatment more accessible at a moment when the novel coronavirus — and the jobs the pandemic has cost — has strained the U.S. health system, robbed millions of Americans of health benefits and caused nearly 125,000 deaths nationwide.
The legislation would add to some of the ACA’s central elements by expanding eligibility for insurance subsidies to those at higher incomes and pressuring more than a dozen states to expand Medicaid.
4 Advantages of the RDS for Plan Sponsors
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses plan sponsors the equivalent of 28% of all Allowable Retiree Drug Expenses.
While Plan Sponsors have many options when it comes to retiree healthcare benefits, the RDS program has a number of advantages they should consider before making a choice.