The podcast this week is a follow-up to my recent story for The New York Times on Medicare and COVID-19. The topic is important, since older Americans are at a high risk for serious illness from the coronavirus, and most who are over age 65 are covered by Medicare.
My guests are two of the top experts in the country on Medicare – Tricia Neuman and Juliette Cubanski of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser is one of the nation’s premiere sources of research and information on all aspects of health care and health policy. It’s a non-profit organization, and non-partisan, and it’s been a key go-to source for me for years. Tricia is a senior vice president of the foundation and executive director of its Program on Medicare Policy. Juliette Cubanski is the program’s deputy director.
Medicare already covers its enrollees for much of what they might need if they contract the virus and become seriously ill — and it has expanded some services and loosened some rules in response to the crisis.
I asked Tricia and Juliette about Medicare coverage of COVID-19 testing and care, as well as what’s going on with skilled nursing care, network restrictions and expanded telehealth options. We also went over a wish list of things Congress should consider adding to Medicare, or reforming, to help meet this crisis.