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Does Medicare cover covid-19 testing?

Medicare provides coverage for millions when it comes to covid-19, and in most cases, beneficiaries will not pay a single dollar out of pocket

Medicare provides coverage for millions when it comes to covid-19, and in most cases, beneficiaries will not pay a single dollar out of pocket
Cameron SpencerGetty Images

When the pandemic began many on Medicare were concerned that costs associated with the virus would not be covered by their plan. However, the federal government acted quickly to ensure that beneficiaries would be able to access care without paying any additional money out of pocket.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that still, even with vaccines, “people 65 and older have been at greatest risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 compared to other age groups, and represent nearly 80% of all COVID-19 deaths as of September 29, 2021.”

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Medicare’s covid-19 coverage

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the organization tasked with managing the program, has reported that the following services for covid-19 are included in the plans:

  • Vaccines: Any FDA-authorized and FDA-approved covid-19 vaccines are available at no cost out-of-pocket to beneficiaries;
  • Lab Tests: Both, diagnostic tests as well as “some tests for related respiratory conditions to aid diagnosis of COVID-19 done together with the COVID-19 test;”
  • FDA-authorized antibody treatments;
  • Monoclonal antibody treatments;
  • Hospitalization: Hospital stays are covered, as well as any days wherein a patient must stay in the hospital to quarantine; and
  • Expanded telehealth services for seniors and those with disabilities to continue monitoring thier health during the pandemic.

Booster shots

Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a third shot, or "booster, for seniors and a select number of other risk groups. During the clinical trials, researchers found that in participants over fifty-five, their antibody response one month after receiving "a booster dose of the vaccine compared to the response one month after the two-dose primary series in the same individuals demonstrated a booster response."

At this point, all booster shots recommended for seniors will be covered under Medicare. Those sixty-five and older are currently eligible to receive a booster.

Public health experts had said that the majority of the population would be eligible to receive booster by the end of September. However, the FDA 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 necessary...for now.


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