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Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Tests?

Medicare fully covers COVID-19 tests for beneficiaries up to a certain amount. Learn more and find out where to find free COVID-19 tests near you that are covered by Medicare.

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published February 08, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Access to easy and affordable testing plays a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. And with older adults being at an increased risk for severe symptoms of the virus, many are wondering if Medicare covers COVID-19 test kits.

The answer is yes, Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) and all Medicare Advantage plans cover COVID-19 tests.

Does Medicare Cover Free COVID-19 Tests?

COVID-19 tests are covered in full by Medicare Part B and by Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans.

Medicare does not charge any copayments or coinsurance for COVID-19 tests, and there is no deductible requirement. Health care providers administering the test are not allowed to charge for an office visit or administration fee. If you receive your test from a Medicare-approved facility, you should not have to pay anything for your COVID-19 test. 

If you receive other tests or services at the same time as your COVID-19 test, you may be charged for those and may be charged for a doctor’s office visit as well.

How Long Will Medicare Pay for COVID-19 Testing?

Medicare is still paying for COVID tests for as long as the public health emergency pertaining to the pandemic remains in place. Once that status is lifted, it’s likely that Medicare will continue to cover COVID-19 tests, but they may not be free. 

Which COVID-19 Tests Are Covered by Medicare?

Medicare covers both laboratory and rapid tests. Tests performed in a lab, hospital, doctor’s office, pharmacy, or popup testing center are covered. Medicare covers both saliva and nasal swab COVID-19 tests. 

Medicare also covers up to eight over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests. You can check this list of participating pharmacies to find out where to get free COVID-19 tests near you. In some cases, you may need to submit a request to Medicare to reimburse you for COVID tests.

The list includes popular pharmacy options such as (but not limited to):

Does Medicare Cover Antibody Tests?

Medicare covers antibody tests that detect an immune response to a previous infection of COVID-19.

These tests are also free of any cost sharing while the public health emergency declaration is in place. 

Are Vaccines Covered by Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B and all Medicare Advantage plans cover COVID-19 vaccine and follow-up booster shots. There is no cost to Medicare beneficiaries for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Some beneficiaries may even qualify to have the vaccine administered right in their own home

Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Treatment?

Medicare and Medicare Advantage plan cover monoclonal antibody treatments, hospitalization, and telehealth services for the treatment of COVID-19. 

Can a Medicare Supplement Plan Help Me Save Money on COVID-19 Testing?

For as long as the public health emergency declaration is in place, Medicare beneficiaries shouldn’t be charged anything for their COVID-19 tests. But once the declaration expires on May 11, it’s possible that Medicare may adjust its coverage of COVID-19 testing to include copayments or coinsurance. In that case, a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan may help you save by paying costs like your Medicare coinsurance or deductible.

Speak with a licensed insurance agent to learn more and for help comparing available plans in your area. 

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