Your Health Insurance May Waive Coronavirus Testing Copays

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Many of us are asking ourselves what we can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some of us are also asking ourselves whether we can afford to get tested for COVID-19, should we come down with symptoms—and how much we’ll have to pay for treatment.

Luckily, many health insurance companies have announced that they will waive copays for people who request coronavirus testing. As CNBC explains:

Health insurer Cigna will waive co-pays or cost-shares for COVID-19 testing on many plans. Aetna, which is owned by CVS Health, also said it will waive co-pays for “all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19” and that meets CDC guidelines. UnitedHealthGroup said it will waive member cost sharing, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all commercial insured, Medicaid and Medicare members.

CNBC also notes that the AHIP has an extensive list of health insurance providers that have agreed to waive copays, cost-sharing, coinsurance and/or deductibles for COVID-19 testing—and I wouldn’t be surprised if additional insurers join the list over time.

Of course, if you don’t have insurance, coronavirus testing might be a little more complicated. As the Texas Tribune reports:

Asked last week what steps uninsured people should take to confront the coronavirus, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt said they should avoid going to the emergency room for non-urgent care and encouraged them to call a help line to find nearby free or reduced-cost clinics.

You should also keep in mind that, although testing may be free (for people insured by certain providers), treatment may not. There are likely to be out-of-pocket costs associated with whatever healthcare you end up receiving, whether you do in fact have the coronavirus or whether you have another type of cold, flu, or upper respiratory infection.

Last question, then: Should you get tested for COVID-19? Here’s what the CDC recommends:

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

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