How to deal with COVID-19 when you are over 65
What about testing

To test or not to test

What is a test

The coronavirus test determines whether you have been infected by the virus or not.  A simple nasopharyngeal swab is taken from your nose and inside cheek of your mouth. If necessary swabs are taken from sputum and your breathing tubes.  A lab will see whether the virus can be identified.  The CDC issues regular recommendations to doctors on the priority for testing.  There are 3 levels:
  1. Patients in hospital; and health care workers with symptoms
  2. People with symptoms:  in long term care, or over 65, or with underlying medical problems, or first responders
  3. People with symptoms who are: workers in critical infrastructure, other people with symptoms; health care workers without symptoms; people with mild symptoms.
People without symptoms have no priority.  Testing for the virus is more important from a public health viewpoint than from an individual one.  If you have symptoms, call your doctor first, rather than worry about how and where to get testing.

Getting a test

If you think you have been exposed to the virus or if you have symptoms of a fever, dry cough, and/or shortness of breath, then call your doctor’s office.  If your doctor decides that you should be tested then they will make arrangements for it. This may be at a physician’s office or another approved location.   If you have no doctor, call the Emergency Room or urgent care facility closest to you and let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.   They will then decide on whether you need testing and where to get it done.

Medicare pays for it

Medicare will pay in full for this without any copays - whether you are in Original Medicare or have a Medicare Advantage plan.