It is unfortunate and stressful that we are ending the first quarter of 2020 with an official worldwide pandemic, Coronavirus or it’s official name… COVID-19. I’m sure you’re tired of the constant media coverage about this. However, with your health as our top priority, we’ve been constantly reading information and want to provide what we hope is good information for you.
MEDICARE & COVID-19:
1) Assuming that there will be more tests available in the next few weeks, Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs. Your doctor or another healthcare provider MUST order the test for you (you are NOT able to get a test without a doctor).
2) Medicare covers medically necessary hospitalizations. Make sure to be familiar with any hospital co-pays in your current plan. The zero-premium Medicare Advantage plans, while great at saving people money each month have higher hospital co-pays. If you want to discuss increasing coverage, including additional insurance that can potentially eliminate any hospital co-pays, please give us a call at 503-928-6918
3) Currently, there’s no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
ACTIONS FOR COVID-19:
1) COVID-19 is most dangerous to people in higher age groups because of how fast it spreads and the lung damage it causes. More details, including data, are included later in this letter. Please stay 6 feet away from people. The closer you are the more risk. Limit your interactions and avoid public places. When able, please have family or friends run your grocery errands.
2) Soap and water are key. Please wash your hands and face regularly.
3) To prep for 14 days of quarantine if you’re positive, sick or exposed, refill any prescriptions now so you have a few months’ supplies. Pharmacies and insurance companies are waiving prevention for early refills. Also make sure to have Tylenol, Advil, cough syrup, Kleenex, soap, and bleach. If your Medicare plan has an over-the-counter benefit, please use it to stock up on these materials.
4) Fever over 100.4 or greater w/ cough…avoid anyone with these symptoms. If this happens to you, please stay home (take Tylenol and Advil every 6 hours and your desired choice of cold/flu meds… after making sure it’s okay with your doctor). Rest and hydrate. IF you have shortness of breath, call the emergency room, health department, or doctor and tell them your symptoms. They’ll tell you where to go and what to do.
5) Make sure you have canned soup, pasta and sauce, frozen dinners, oatmeal, cereal, and frozen fruit and veggies for 14 days.
6) Get extra food, litter, and treats for any animals.
7) Chloroquine is a tablet prescription that might improve the success rate of treatment, shorten hospital stay and improve patient outcomes with Coronavirus, according to early research from China and South Korea. If you contract Coronavirus, discuss this potential medication with a doctor.
1) The virus is already in the community and spreading well. Without the tests, there is no way to officially confirm cases and the reported numbers cannot be accurate.
2) As you can see from the table, the age of a person largely determines how severe the virus affects someone. This is because immune systems weaken with age.
3) Once in contact with the virus, symptoms typically take a week to show, although the range can be anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks. This means that people can carry the virus and infect others without knowing it. Many younger people have no symptoms at all. However, they can easily carry and transmit the virus. This is why it’s important to keep a 6-foot distance from people.
4) The average time from first symptoms to recovery for mild cases is two weeks. For more severe cases it’s three to six weeks.
5) Pre-existing conditions are one of the largest determining factors in how severe this virus affects people.
6) This is NOT the flu! While the flu causes deaths each year, the rate of death is only 0.1% of cases. COVID-19 has a 3.5% death rate (35 times higher).
7) By limiting social interactions, we aren’t stopping the virus. We are slowing it’s spread so our healthcare system can work better and save lives. The following illustration shows what the term “flattening the curve” means when we hear it in the media.
Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about your Medicare health plans- 503-928-6918