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Isolated at Home During COVID-19 Outbreak? You May Have Medicare Options

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published April 15, 2024 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Follow our Medicare Coronavirus News page for related information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on Medicare beneficiaries.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced people of all ages into isolation as shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders are issued throughout the country. 

Being isolated from the outside world can be difficult, especially when food, health care and other necessities are at stake. Fortunately for Medicare beneficiaries, there are some ways their Medicare coverage may be able to help them receive care and services while staying at home.

Here are a few ways some Medicare beneficiaries may be able to take advantage of their benefits while practicing home isolation and social distancing. 

Mail-order prescription drugs during COVID-19

Pharmacies will remain open during stay-at-home orders, as they are considered to be an “essential” business. However, public transportation may be limited, and you may not want to risk going out in public to begin with. 

Most Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans offer prescription drug coverage, something that isn’t offered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer a mail-order program that can deliver your prescription drugs right to your doorstep.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily relaxed some of its prescription drug plan requirements related to refill maximums.

This means, depending on your Medicare Advantage plan or your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you may be able to stock up on a longer supply of certain medications, up to a 90-day supply.

Some Medicare Advantage plan carriers may also offer benefits such as:

  • Fee waivers for home delivery of prescriptions

  • Free home delivery of select over-the-counter (OTC) items

Check with your Medicare Advantage plan carrier to find out what benefits are currently available to you.

To learn more about Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans available near you, visit today.

Some Medicare Advantage plans cover non-emergency medical transportation

Not only can some Medicare Advantage plans bring prescription drugs to you at home, but some plans may offer transportation benefits, such as rides to the pharmacy or doctor.

Some Medicare Advantage plans also partner with ride-sharing services such as Lyft or Uber to provide coverage for non-emergency medical transportation.

If public transportation is limited or if your regular driver is unavailable during the outbreak, you may be able to take advantage of this benefit to get to your doctor’s appointment, physical therapy or pharmacist, if your plan offers transportation benefits.

Home-delivered meals are available with some Medicare Advantage plans

Some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for home-delivered meals for beneficiaries who recently returned home following surgery or who meet other criteria.

Not only is age an added risk for complications of COVID-19, but so too is having a compromised immune system or pre-existing condition.

Anyone who recently returned home following hospitalization who also qualifies for home meal delivery from their Medicare Advantage plan may benefit from staying home and limiting their potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Medicare covers some home health care services

Medicare Part A and Part B provide some coverage for certain qualified home health care services such as:

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Speech-language pathology services

  • Medical social services

A Medicare beneficiary who normally leaves home to receive such services may consider receiving that care inside the home amid the pandemic.

Original Medicare may also cover part-time or intermittent home health aide services or skilled nursing care in certain circumstances.

Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover everything that Original Medicare covers, which means that Medicare Advantage plans will also cover home health care services that are covered by Original Medicare.

Medicare covers some telemedicine and telehealth services

Telemedicine, or telehealth, involves using a phone or computer to call or video conference with a physician in lieu of a face-to-face meeting.

Telemedicine was already covered by some Medicare Advantage plans and by Original Medicare under limited circumstances. But the CMS has temporarily expanded its coverage for telemedicine to assist beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors, nurses, clinical psychologists and licensed clinical social workers can now offer telemedicine services such as video consultations, remote monitoring of vital signs and digital transmission of medical imaging to a qualified patient in a remote location.

To learn more about Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans available near you, visit today.


Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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