As the coronavirus spreads across the nation, now is a good time to review your health insurance to determine how much you might have to pay in out-of-pocket costs should you need testing, hospitalization and/or extended treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.
This advice especially applies to individuals age 65 and older who are still working and covered by an employer plan. You may be waiting to enroll in Medicare for a variety of reasons: (1) the employer plan costs less due to a generous employer subsidy; (2) the employer plan is a Health Savings Account (HSA), fully funded by the employer; (3) Medicare premiums would be high due to the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). These are all good reasons to stay on an employer plan, especially for a person who is basically healthy and doesn’t plan to get sick. But when illness strikes, Medicare may offer better coverage.
Private insurers have been mixed in their response to the coronavirus. Many are waiving out-of-pocket costs in connection with testing, but not the services that go along with it. The New York Times article “He Got Tested for Coronavirus. Then Came the Flood of Medical Bills.” tells of a man who was out-of-pocket his full $2,000 deductible after acquiescing to an order to go to his nearest emergency department for a test. You should check your individual policy and determine how much you would have to pay should a COVID-19 emergency arise.
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If you have any questions or would like more information on this topic, please call Beth Blecker at 845-627-8300.