Medicare to Cover New Coronavirus Treatment

COVID patient in the hospital
Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

Medicare will cover treatment for beneficiaries who require antibody infusions to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the federal government has announced.

Treatments in settings such as a doctor’s office, nursing home or infusion center now will be covered — without cost-sharing — for patients insured through Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors and people with certain disabilities.

This coverage — which began on Nov. 10 — is for monoclonal antibody infusions in facilities where “safety precautions can be met,” according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS. This includes having access to medications that can treat anaphylaxis and other severe infusion reactions.

The day before the CMS announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an investigational monoclonal antibody therapy called bamlanivimab, for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in patients at high risk for becoming severely ill, and/or who are likely to require hospitalization.

The CMS announcement is just the latest expansion of Medicare coverage to help treat COVID-19.

Medicare — along with private insurance plans — also will pick up the tab for any coronavirus vaccine that is approved early. For more details, check out “Medicare, Private Plans to Cover Cost of Early COVID-19 Vaccine.”

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For more coverage of Medicare as the fall open enrollment season continues, check out Money Talks News’ latest Medicare articles.

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