Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions

Senior Healthcare Direct answers your Coronavirus COVID-19 questions. The first American died of COVID-19 on February 29, 2020. In the blog posts below, you can learn more about Coronavirus testing covered by Medicare Part BTelehealth Coverage expands, and regulatory relief from CMS Section 1135 Waiver.

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Greg Abbott

Coronavirus Texas plan to reopen

Despite an upward trajectory of Coronavirus cases, Greg Abbot, governor of Texas, plans to reopen Texas on Friday, May 1, 2020. On a live press conference, on April 27, Governor Abbot announces the positive results of Texas’ response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 in Texas

Greg Abbot, Governor of Texas

Greg Abbot, Governor of Texas

“The COVID-19 infection rate has been on the decline over the past 17 days.” Moreover, Gov. Abbot says, “Hospitalization has held steady.” Furthermore, he says, “The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 will soon exceed the number of active cases.”

Texas ready to battle COVID-19

Gov. Abbot also says, “I deployed more than 3,000 Texas National Guard. They will be operating 25 mobile COVID testing sites across Texas, as well as three fixed sites in Houston, Huntsville, and Kingsville.” Furthermore, the National Guard is operating “9 PPE distribution sites.”

Governor Abbot goes on to say the National Guard has deployed a team that manufactures more than 500,000 N-95 masks every day. As of April 27, 2020, they have already made more than 6 million masks. Moreover, they are also helping Texas families. Almost a thousand National Guard prepare and serve meals at food banks across Texas.

Most Importantly, Gov. Abbot says his executive order to stay at home will expire on April 30. Furthermore, Abbot says, “that executive order has done its job to slow the growth of COVID-19.” Texas will reopen May 1.

Texas COVID-19 Coronavirus Cases

The Texas Department of Health reports the number of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases since March 24, 2020, in the chart below.

Coronavirus Texas cases
Texas COVID-19 Coronavirus chart shows an increasing number of cases since March 24, 2020.
coronavirus cases in texas
Only 45% of Texas COVID-19 patients have recovered

The COVID-19 chart shows Coronavirus cases increasing in April. Contrary to Governor Abbot, the COVID-19 infection rate has not been “on the decline in the last 17 days.” The facts show COVID-19 cases increasing.

Gov. Abbot says recovered patients will soon exceed active cases. However, actual data show only 12,507 patient recoveries out of 28,087 active cases. Thus, most patients (55%) have not recovered from COVID-19.

Texas Plans to Reopen Despite Rising Coronavirus Cases

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas continues to climb, governor Greg Abbot plans Phase one reopening of Texas on May 1. The governor will allow the following Texas businesses to reopen:

  • Retail Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Movie Theaters
  • Malls
Governor Open Texas

However, business occupancy is limited to 25 percent in Phase one. In other words, businesses will have space for social distancing. Later in Phase two, this limit will increase to 50 percent. Furthermore, museums and libraries may also open in Phase one. However, interactive areas with “hands-on” exhibits must remain closed.

Moreover, sole practitioners (self-employed business owners) may also return to work in Phase one. It also allows out-door sports with a maximum of four participants and with certain distancing practices—for example, tennis playing singles or doubles; and golf. Phase one will allow all licensed healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, and dentists) to return to work.

Millions of Texans at High-Risk of COVID-19

Texas seniors age 65 and older account for 12.7% of the Texas population at 3.6 million, according to data from the 2020 U.S. Census. Senior Texans with the following underlying medical conditions are at high risk.

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart condition
  • Liver disease
  • Immunocompromised
  • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

Texans with a compromised immune system are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you engage in any of the following behavior or have the following medical conditions, you are at high risk:

  • Smoking
  • Cancer treatment
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Bone marrow or organ transplantation
  • Poorly controlled HIV or AIDS
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

3 Million Texas Smokers at High-Risk for COVID-19

Texas Smokers by age

13.6 percent of Texan smokers between the ages of 18 and 44. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, this age group represents 37.9% of Texans or 10.8 million. Thus, 13.6 percent of 10.8 million puts 1.4 million Texans at high-risk for COVID-19.

18.6 percent of Texan smokers between the ages of 45 and 64. The group represents 23.5% of Texans or 6.7 million. Thus, 18.6 percent of 6.7 million puts 1.2 million Texans at high-risk for COVID-19.

8.8 percent of senior Texan smokers are age 65 and older. This group represents 12.7 percent of Texans or 3.6 million. Thus, 8.8 percent of 3.6 million puts 320,771 seniors at high-risk for COVID-19. 

In total, 3 million Texas smokers are at high-risk of COVID-19. Texan smoking percentages provided by United Health Foundation with CDC source in 2018.

 

Medicare Part B Helps Seniors Quit Smoking

Medicare Part B covers up to 8 visits of smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visits per year. Seniors who smoke can reduce the risk of severe illness to COVID-19 by quitting. Furthermore, Original Medicare covers all costs, so you pay nothing to quit smoking. 

Seniors new to Medicare can apply from the safety of your home. Find out how easy it is to complete a Medicare Part B application.

All smokers can get help to quit smoking by calling 1-800-QuitNow (784-8669).

2.6 Million Texans have diabetes and are High-Risk for COVID-19

The chart below shows Texas diabetes age percentages provided by United Health Foundation with 2018 data from the CDC. Number of Texans with diabetes calculated using the lastest 2020 Texas population of 28,701,845 from the U.S. Census. That’s 28.7 million people in Texas, and 2.6 million Texans in the age groups below have diabetes and are at high risk of severe illness from the Coronavirus.

Texas Diabetes by age

Only 2.8 percent of Texans between age 18 and 44 have diabetes. This population of Texans is 10.8 million. Thus, 2.8 percent of 10.8 million is 304,583 younger Texans with diabetes.

A much higher percentage, 18.7 percent of Texans have diabetes between ages 45 and 65. This population of Texans is 6.7 million, and this group has the largest number of diabetics at 1.2 million.

Seniors represent the highest percentage of diabetes. A whopping 29.5 percent or 3 out of 10 seniors are diabetic in Texas. Since there are 3.6 million seniors in Texas, 1 million Texan seniors have diabetes.

Medicare Part B covers Diabetes Self-Management Training

Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT) teaches you to cope with and manage your diabetes. Original Medicare covers DSMT. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. However, a Medicare Supplement Plan such as Plan G will pay this 20% coinsurance for you.

The DSMT program includes tips for the following:

  • Eating healthy
  • Being active
  • Monitoring blood sugar
  • Taking prescription drugs
  • Reducing risks

DSMT covers individual and group training. However, if group sessions are not available due to COVID-19, you may be able to get services from a practitioner, such as Registered Dietitian, through telehealth.

Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe in Texas

Millions of Texans are at high-risk of severe sickness from COVID-19. Get six Coronavirus tips to stay safe

You can shop and save on Medicare Advantage or Supplement Plans from the safety of your home. Just call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

 

Related Article: Coronavirus US States Reopening on May 4, 2020

Governor Brian Kemp

Coronavirus Georgia – Opening Up America

Georgia’s Governor to Reopen Businesses

In a news conference on Monday, April 20, 2020, Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, gives the following Coronavirus update: Georgia will reopen some business starting Friday, April 24, 2020. Governor Brian Kemp says, in this ABC News video, the following businesses will reopen on Friday subject to social distancing and sanitation mandates:

Coronavirus Georgia
Brian Kemp, Georgia Governor

 

  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Bowling alleys
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Massage and tattoo parlors

Furthermore, Governor Kemp says, theaters, private social clubs, and restaurant dine-in services will open Monday, April 27. With social distancing, Georgians are allowed to hold in-person services in places of worship. Georgia’s shelter-in-place order will end at 11:59 PM on April 30.

Georgia Reopens Despite Rising COVID-19 Cases

Coronavirus Georgia cases

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia continues to climb, governor Brian Kemp plans Phase One reopening of some businesses. According to the Georgia Department of Health, the COVID-19 Daily Status Report shows an upward trajectory of Coronavirus cases since March 7, 2020. The graph shows the number of COVID-19 increasing by 20,000 in the last six weeks.

On April 16, 2020, President Trump presented his guidelines on “Opening Up America Again.” His guidelines require each State to satisfy a “Gating Criteria before proceeding to a phased comeback.” One criterion is a downward trajectory of documented cases within 14 days. The Georgia COVID-19 cases do not show a downward trajectory. Thus, Georgia does not satisfy Trump’s gating criterion and should not proceed to Phase One.

President Trump’s Phase One Guidelines

President Trump phase one guidelines

 

During Phase One, individuals should continue to shelter in place. When you go out in public (e.g., gyms or shopping areas), you should maximize physical distance from others. Furthermore, household members should be aware that returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, could result in carrying the virus back home.

Therefore, employers should continue to encourage telework whenever possible. Moreover, employers should close common areas where employees are likely to interact—for example, the break/lunchroom.

In phase one, large venues can operate under strict physical distancing. For example, sit-down dining, sporting venues, and places of worship can open. However, the following will remain closed: schools and organized youth activities, visits to senior living facilities and hospitals, and bars.

COVID-19 Deaths in Georgia – Underlying Condition

COVID-19 deaths in Georgia

 

In Georgia, there are 839 deaths, with 554 having an underlying health condition, 262 unknown, and 23 with no underlying condition. The pie chart shows the percentages of Coronavirus deaths in Georgia. 66%, or 2 out of 3 people, have COVID-19 death with an underlying condition. A significant number, 30% of COVID-19 deaths are unknown. Only 3% do not have an underlying condition. However, some percentage of the unknown 30% may have no underlying condition. Thus, the rate of Coronavirus deaths with no underlying condition, maybe 10% or higher.oo

COVID-19 High-Risk Conditions

Current data from clinical experts at CDC say, “older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.” At high risk is seniors, age 65 and older, and people living in nursing homes or long-term term facilities. Medicare covers the first 60 days of care in a long-term care hospital after you pay Part A deductible of $1408 in 2020. However, any Medicare Supplement Plan will pay your Part A deductible.

Reopen America Facebook Poll

 

Seniors Vote “No” to Reopen America on May 1

Senior Healthcare Direct received 996 votes in a recent Facebook poll. Our followers, mostly seniors on Medicare, were asked, “Do you think the country is ready to reopen May 1?” A vast majority, more than 3 out of 4 seniors, think America is not ready to reopen on May 1. You can vote in our next poll by following us on Facebook.

People at any age with underlying medical conditions are at high risk. These medical conditions include:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart condition
  • Immunocompromised 
  • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including the following:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Smoking
  • Bone marrow or organ transplantation
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Poorly controlled HIV or AIDS
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

How many people are at High-Risk for COVID-19?

 

Millions of people in Georgia are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People with high-risk medical conditions include those with chronic diseases. So the number of people with chronic disease in Georgia is approximately the number of people at high-risk for COVID-19. 

In Georgia, there are 6.3 million people with chronic disease (62%) and 3.8 million healthy people (38%). In other words, 6 out of 10 people in Georgia are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. Thus, more than half the population of Georgia is at high risk for COVID-19.

Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

The following Coronavirus tips can help you stay safe in Georgia:

  1. Treat all public surfaces as if infected with the Coronavirus
  2. Cough and sneeze into your elbow (not your hands)
  3. Wear cloth face mask in public

Get more details and read more Coronavirus tips to stay safe. Seniors get the latest updates on Medicare coverage for Coronavirus, including access to telehealth services. You can also get answers to your Medicare questions by speaking with a licensed agent at 1-855-368-4717. We can help you shop and compare Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans from the safety of your home – get your quote.

Related Article: Coronavirus Texas plan to reopen

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

Coronavirus Tip safe shopping

Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

coronavirus tip protect your hands
Protect your hands from the Coronavirus

These Coronavirus tips can keep you safe when you go outside your home. The Coronavirus can live on surfaces, and if you touch these surfaces and then touch your face, you risk becoming infected. Moreover, people can be asymptomatic, not show any symptoms, and infect the surfaces they touch. Therefore, Cornoravirus advice: treat all public surfaces as if infected with the Coronavirus. 

You should avoid touching public surfaces. However, if you must touch a public surface, use protection. For example, you can bring a pocket full of paper towels and a plastic bag. When opening a door, use a paper towel. Then dispose of the used paper towel using the plastic bag This tip protects your hands from the Coronavirus.

Alternatively, you can use your shirt to open doors. It is safer to use your shirt and wash it later than to expose your hands to Coronavirus.

For doors that push open, you can use your shoulder, hip, or foot instead of your hands. When operating the buttons of an elevator, you can use your elbow instead of your finger. Just how great is the Coronavirus risk in America?

The Highest Number of Cases and Deaths in The World

Coronavirus cases and deaths
Coronavirus cases and deaths reported by Wikipedia

As of April 20, 2020, the number of U.S. Coronavirus cases was 772,665. Moreover, the total number of American deaths was 41,155. According to these stats from Wikipedia, the percentage of Americans who have died of Coronavirus was 5.3 percent. So how was America doing compared with the rest of the World?

The United States had the highest number of cases and deaths than any other country in the World. America had more Coronavirus cases than Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined. Therefore, Americans, more than any other country, needed to protect themselves from the Coronavirus.

The following additional tips can help minimize your exposure, lower the spread of Coronavirus, and increase your chance of staying safe.

Coronavirus Tip #2 – Cough into Your Elbow

The second tip to keep you safe from Coronavirus is to follow the CDC guidelines. Since there was no vaccine for Coronavirus, the best way to prevent infection was to avoid exposure to this virus. In 2021, COVID-19 vaccines are available. Getting vaccinated is now the best way to avoid serious illness and death. 

How The Coronavirus Spreads

The Coronavirus spreads person-to-person through “respiratory droplets,” microscopic particles that spray out when a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. So if you are near an infected person and these droplets land on your mouth or noses, you can inhale them into your lungs and become infected with Coronavirus. 

coronavirus tip cough into your elbow

How to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

A person may be asymptomatic (think they are not infected because they show no symptoms) and sneeze into their hands. When this infected person touches a public surface, they unknowingly contaminate it with Coronavirus. CDC advises you to cover your mouth with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow when you sneeze or cough. Then throw away the used tissue. Coronavirus advice: couch into your elbow.

Coronavirus Tip #3 – Wear Cloth Face Mask

The CDC advises you to wear a mask covering your mouth and nose when you go out in public. If you do not wear a mask, you could be asymptomatic and spread the virus to others even when you do not feel sick. Thus, “everyone should wear a cloth face cover” in public. Coronavirus advice (tip #3) is to wear a cloth face mask in public.

How to Make a Cloth Mask in 3 Easy Steps

You can make a cloth mask in three easy steps. First, use scissors to cut 7-8 inches from the bottom of your t-shirt. Second, cut 6-7 inches of tie strings, as shown in the illustration below. Finally, tie the strings around your neck and over the top of your head. 

How to make a cloth mask in 3 easy steps

Coronavirus Tip #4 – Practice Safe Shopping

coronavirus advice wear cloth mask and gloves

When you go shopping, wear a cloth mask. If you have disposable gloves, you can wear them while shopping and trash them when you leave the store. Remember to follow these instructions for safely removing your gloves.

  1. Pinch and hold the outside of the glove near the wrist area.
  2. Peel the glove downward, away from the wrist, turning the glove inside-out.
  3. Pull the glove off the hand and into your other gloved hand
  4. With your ungloved hand, slide your finger under the wrist of the remaining glove (do not touch outside of the glove).
  5. Peel the glove downward, away from the wrist, turning the glove inside-out. 
  6. Continue to pull the glove down and over the inside-out held glove until removed from your hand.

Coronavirus advice is to wear a cloth mask and disposable gloves when you go shopping.

Coronavirus Tip #5 – Wash your produce and packaging

When grocery shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid touching produce with your bare hands. Instead, stick your hand inside a clean, store-supplied bag. For example, you can use the outside of the bag like a glove to pick up and inspect the fruits and vegetables. 

Furthermore, you don’t know who touched the produce you bought. At home, always clean your fruits and vegetables in a bath of white vinegar and water for at least 20 seconds. Moreover, clean the outside of food packaging with soap and water. Coronavirus advice is to wash your produce and packaging.  

Coronavirus Tip #6 – For Deliveries, Keep your Distance 

Shopping online is safer than going out to stores and exposing yourself to the Coronavirus. As a result, you may have products and food delivered to your home. Many people have a habit of opening their doors and greeting the delivery person. This behavior puts you at risk.

Instead, have the delivery person leave the items at your door. Then give the delivery person a warm “thank you” through a closed door or a friendly smile and wave through a closed window.

Coronavirus and Medicare

If you are new to Medicare, find out how you can apply for Medicare Part B from the safety of your home. Moreover, get the latest updates on Medicare coverage for Coronavirus. You can also learn how you can access telehealth services at home without traveling to a healthcare facility and risking exposure to the Coronavirus.

Senior Healthcare Direct offers you many options: Original Medicare, Part D, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Supplement Plans. We can help you shop and compare plans from the safety of your home. Call us at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

Related Article: Coronavirus Georgia – Opening Up America

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

Medicaid Income Eligibility Andrew Saul

Medicaid Income Eligibility and Your Stimulus Check

Medicaid Income Eligibility and Your Stimulus Check

Medicaid Income Eligibility
SSA commissioner Andrew Saul

Great news, your Medicaid income eligibility will not be affected by the stimulus check. On April 1, 2020, Andrew Saul, the commissioner of Social Security, says:

“SSA will not consider stimulus payments as income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.”

Because state Medicaid programs cannot impose eligibility requirements stricter than SSI requirements, your stimulus payment should not affect Medicaid eligibility.

President Trump signs CARES Act
President Trump signs CARES Act

Trump Makes America Great!

President Trump made history on March 27, 2020, when he signed into law the single greatest relief bill in American history. The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides all eligible individuals a one-time payment of $1200. Moreover, the CARES Act pays you $500 for each child. For example, if you are a couple (two adults), you get $2400. Furthermore, if you are a couple with two children, you get $3400.

Minutes after signing the $2 trillion relief package, Trump sent the following message on Twitter.

Trump Tweets CARES Act

Who is eligible for a stimulus check?

Any American with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of under $99,000 is eligible for a stimulus check. The majority of Americans with AGI of $75,000 or less will receive the full payment of $1200. The Adjusted Gross Income comes from your 2018 or 2019 tax return filing. You should apply for a stimulus check if you did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return(except the non-filers listed below). For example, you may not have filed a federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples).

Non-Filers who do not need to apply for a stimulus check

Seniors and other individuals receiving the benefits listed who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return will automatically receive a stimulus check.

  • Social Security retirement benefits
  • Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
  • Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits

Medicaid Income Eligibility Requirements

Medicaid is a federal-and-state-funded health insurance program for low-income Americans and their families. Your Medicaid eligibility depends on where you live. However, as a general rule of thumb, if you make less than the federal poverty level or up to twice the poverty level, you may qualify for Medicaid. For example, there are Medicaid programs for pregnant, elderly, disabled, parent/caretaker, and child. 

You can reference the 2020 Poverty Guidelines below to see if you may be eligible for Medicaid.

medicaid income eligibility poverty guidelines 2020
If you make less than the 2020 poverty guideline, you may qualify for Medicaid.

Medicare and Medicaid

Discover the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Find out about Dual Eligible Medicare, where you can have both Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare Coronavirus Update

Medicare Coronavirus Update

Medicare provides health care coverage for Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and hospitalizations. According to Medicare.gov, “You pay no out-of-pocket costs.” for COVID-19 lab tests.

Medicare Coronavirus testing

Furthermore, Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. For example, your doctor diagnoses you with COVID-19. Consequently, you remain an inpatient for the duration of your quarantine.

Likewise, Medicare Advantage plans provide you the same coverage benefits. Moreover, Medicare waives your copays for COVID-19 lab tests.

Whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, Senior Healthcare Direct can help you choose and compare Medicare plans from the safety of your home. Call us at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

917 new COVID-19 deaths on April 1, 2020

On April 1, 2020, 917 Americans died from COVID-19. The total number of American deaths is now 4,745. According to CNN, from January until April Fool’s day, President Trump has “minimized the risk of coronavirus.” 

Trump has said:

“The virus might well vanish by April with the warmer weather, that the media and Democrats were overhyping the situation, and that this is their new hoax.” 

President Trump

Finally, on April 1, the facts are clear. COVID-19 is not vanishing in April. Moreover, President Trump said (for the first time):

“The situation is ‘bad,’ that the virus is not under control, that the country might well be heading into a recession, and that American life would not get back to normal for months.”

In this video press briefing, President Trump says he wants, “every American prepared for the hard days that lay ahead.” Moreover, Trump says, “It’s going to be a very tough two weeks.” (April 1 – April 14).

Experts Predict Huge US Death Toll

Dr Debroah Birx
Dr. Brix presents a terrifying US death toll

At White House briefing on March 31, 2020, Dr. Debroah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, makes a grim prediction. An IHME model by Chris Murray, at the University of Washington, predicts 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 in the next two months.

Most importantly, this prediction requires all American’s to engage in social distancing. Otherwise, the American death toll could be in the millions.


You can slow the spread of Coronavirus

To slow the spread of Coronavirus, all Americans must do the following:

  • Restrict social gatherings to 10 people or less
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people (Social Distancing)
  • Stay at home and shop online for whatever you need

If you ignore these guidelines, millions of Americans are likely to die. Experts predict a mountain of deaths between 1.5 million and 2.2 million if Americans fail to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Medicare Coronavirus Update
Medicare Coronavirus Update

Medicare will cover the Coronavirus vaccine

Currently, scientists continue to work on COVID-19 vaccines. The estimated timeline for an approved vaccine maybe 12 – 18 months. When a vaccine becomes available, your Medicare Part D plan will cover it.

Related article: Get Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

Medicare Part B Application Download

Medicare Part B application

Medicare Part B Application

medicare part b application

Find out how easy it is to complete a Medicare Part B application from the safety of your home. During the Coronavirus Pandemic your local social security office may be closed. However, you can still apply for Medicare Part B by faxing your application to your local social security office. You can watch this video to get more details.

To apply for Medicare Part B you will need an Internet connection and a computer or smartphone. It helps to have a printer. However, you can complete the entire application online. Robert Bache, the founder of Senior Healthcare Direct, shows how to apply for Medicare online in a video.

You can click the following link to download the CMS 40B application for enrollment in Medicare Part B. Alternatively; you can download form 40B in Spanish. After you have downloaded the PDF file, you have two ways to complete the form. 

  • The first option is to open the application using Adobe Acrobat Reader, type in your information, and print it out. 
  • The second option is to print and fill it out the form.

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free. The file size is relatively large. So it may take time to complete the download. Then you will need to install it on your computer. Finally, open the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer and open the PDF file. You can now type in your information.

What do you need to complete the Medicare Part B Application?

The following information is needed to complete your Medicare Part B application:

COVID-19 and Applying for Medicare Part B

During this public healthcare emergency, you can complete CSM form L564 on behalf of your employer without your employer’s signature. Specifically, you can complete Section B and provide supporting documents. Learn more about applying for Medicare Part B in this COVID-19 Pandemic.

Where to send Medicare Part B Application?

You can mail your completed and signed application to your local Social Security office. To find a local Social Security office near you, visit the Social Security Office Locator and enter your zip code. If you signed up during a Special Enrollment Period, include the CMS L564 with your CMS 40B application.

Related article: Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

medicare team help with medicare questions

Medicare Part B Application FAQs

Can I use the CMS 40B application during my Initial Enrollment Period?

Yes, if you live in Puerto Rico. Otherwise, you need to apply online.

If I have Part A, can I use the CMS 40B application to enroll in Part B?

Yes.


Can I use the CMS 40B application to sign up for Part B during the General Enrollment Period (Jan 1 – Mar 31)?

Yes.


If I refused Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period because I had a group health plan, can I use the CMS 40B application?

Yes, you may sign up during your 8-month Special Election Period (SEP).

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

Patrice A. Harris MD

Seema Verma CMS approves Section 1135 Wavier

seema verma cms
Seema Verma, CMS Administrator

CMS Approves Section 1135 Wavier for 13 States

On March 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approves Section 1135 Wavier for 13 states. The waiver gives states new “flexibility” to provide needed healthcare services during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, “These waivers give a broad range of states the regulatory relief and support they need to more quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens.”

CMS approves waivers in the following 13 states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • New Jersey
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington

The Benefits of Section 1135 Waiver

Seema Verma says the 1135 Wavier removes all “unnecessary administrative and bureaucratic barriers that may hinder an effective response to this public health emergency.” In general, the wavier removes red tape that can hamper access to needed health care services. 

For example, the wavier streamlines the provider enrollment processes so more providers can care for beneficiaries. As a result, providers who not already enrolled in Medicare may “provisionally, temporarily” enroll, and CMS will waive the following:

  • Payment of application fee
  • Criminal background checks
  • Site visits
  • In-State/territory licensure requirements

Section 1135 wavies prior authorization requirements for any “fee-for-service” healthcare plans, including some Medicare Advantage plans. In other words, you do not need pre-approval. 

For example, you do not need a primary care physician’s referral to get the health care you need during this COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the waiver allows care in an alternative setting. For instance, a provider’s facility becomes inaccessible due to a large volume of COVID-19 patients. The wavier allows you to get care in a temporary shelter (field hospital).

Overall, the waiver enables states to focus their resources on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and provide the health care we need.

blu-med field hospital
Temporary field hospital

Seema Verma

Medicare Telehealth Coverage Expands

Telehealth Coverage expands amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Medicare Telehealth has changed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. Seniors can now access telehealth services in their homes. On March 17, 2020, CMS Administrator Seema Verma says: 

Medicare Telehealth

“These changes allow seniors to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit the risk of exposure and the spread of this virus.”

– Seema Verma

Moreover, these changes apply to more than just doctors. You can also receive telehealth services from the following healthcare providers:

  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Registered Dietitians

All of these clinicians can now safely provide virtual care services while protecting our seniors from the coronavirus.  On March 17, 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) President Patrice Harris, MD, applauds this Medicare telemedicine policy change. She says:

This important Medicare policy change supports social distancing measures and slows the spread of the novel coronavirus, while providing safe screening and treatment to patients through remote care.

– Patrice Harris, MD

Moreover, Doctor Harris says, “The use of telemedicine and remote services are critical to the management of COVID-19, while also ensuring uninterrupted care for 100 million Americans with chronic conditions.” This policy change expands Medicare telehealth benefits to the vast majority of people on Medicare.

Who is eligible for Medicare Telehealth?

Anyone with Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage) is eligible for Medicare Telehealth benefits. For example, people who have Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Supplement Plans. However, anyone with only Medicare Part A is not eligible for telehealth benefits.

Expanding Your Telehealth Benefits

Robert Bache, the founder of Senior Healthcare Direct, breaks the Medicare news on expanding telehealth benefits. Watch the MedicareBob video below for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/MedicareBob/videos/226660702058972/

Watch more MedicareBob videos by following us on Facebook.

Medicare Telehealth Communication 

Medicare Telehealth allows you to communicate with a healthcare professional using a real-time audio/video system. For example, you may be able to use your smartphone or any other device with video technology, like a tablet or laptop. 

Furthermore, you can use telehealth services for virtual check-ins over the phone with your doctor. For example, you can communicate without going to your doctor’s office using an online patient portal for e-visits.

Medicare Telehealth Coverage and Cost

Medicare Part B covers Telehealth and can include virtual check-ins and e-visits. Moreover, Part B covers coronavirus testing. Original Medicare only covers 80% of Part B costs. Therefore, you may need to pay 20% coinsurance and Part B annual deductible. However, Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Supplement Plan will not pay Part B coinsurance (expect plans K and L).

Related Article: Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

Coronavirus COVID-19

Medicare Part B covers Coronavirus Test

Medicare Part B covers Coronavirus Test

conoravirus test

Medicare Part B covers Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. This diagnostic test determines whether or not you have Coronavirus disease. Medicare covers the cost for this test.

You can get COVID-19 tested at a laboratory, pharmacy, doctor, hospital, or other location. For example, Medicare covers tests at parking lot sites. In 2021, you can get tested at your local pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS.

In the video below, Robert Bache will talks more about Medicare Part B and the cost of the Coronavirus test.

What Does The Coronavirus Test Cost?

Watch this video to find out what it costs to get tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Who is at Risk for Coronavirus?

In March 2020, the CDC thought seniors were primarily at risk for Coronavirus. While it’s true most seniors have a higher risk of severe health outcomes from COVID-19, it can cause illness in people of all ages. Furthermore, people who have chronic diseases may be at higher risk. 

For example, individuals with Metabolic Syndrome may have a higher risk of severe health issues from Coronavirus. Recent studies showed diabetes, hypertension, and obesity contribute to severe and worse outcomes of COVID-19 disease. (NIH.gov)

Basic Protective Measures Against COVID-19

The World Health Organization says most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. You can protect yourself against COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus, by taking the following protective measures:

Maintain Social Distancing

Coronavirus is spread from person to person mainly through droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. However, these droplets only travel about 3 feet and quickly settle on surfaces. The virus can survive for some time on surfaces. So it is wise to clean surfaces regularly.

Avoid Touching eyes, nose and mouth

Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. Thus, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth since contaminated hands can transfer the virus to you.

Practice Respiratory Hygiene

When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or use a disposable tissue. Then discard the used tissue immediately into a closed bin.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

The most effective way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus is to clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash with soap and water. This will eliminate the virus if it is on your hands.

Preventing the Spread of The Coronavirus

You can help prevent virus infection by minimizing social contact, washing your hands often, and avoid touching your face. For example, you can minimize the risk of getting Coronavirus by avoiding crowds. In addition, you can watch for symptoms of COVID-19 which may appear 2-14 days after exposure according to the CDC:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Anyone with the above symptoms, should call their doctor and tell them, “You may have COVID-19.” Find out what to do if you are sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. Furthermore, the CDC recommends:

  • You should avoid sharing personal household items such as drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, etc.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces such as bathroom fixtures, toilets, doorknobs, etc.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, throw away any tissue in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands.

Related Article: Coronavirus Tips to Stay Safe

About Brian Kondas

Brian Kondas writes well-researched, high-quality, and accurate content for Senior Healthcare Direct. Brian writes about Medicare-related topics including the Coronavirus. Moreover, Brian search engine optimizes (SEO) content, so it ranks higher in search engines and drives organic traffic. Furthermore, Brian edits graphics and creates infographics.

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