The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and several leading insurers have committed to helping mitigate the costs associated with testing for and treating the novel coronavirus that has been spreading nationwide. In addition, officials in California, New York, Maryland, Vermont and Washington state have ordered insurance companies not to charge residents who get tested for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which had infected more than 113,000 people and killed more than 4,000 worldwide as of Monday morning.
Medicare announced that it will cover the cost of coronavirus testing for Medicare Part B beneficiaries if certain conditions are met, including the test being ordered by the enrollee’s healthcare provider and performed on or after Feb. 4. In addition, after encouragement from the board of industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, many health insurers, including Aetna, Anthem Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Emblem Health and United Health, followed suit, pledging to have waive out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 tests.
“Health insurance providers will devote our resources, insights and abilities to collaborate with key partners to confront and resolve this challenge,” AHIP said in a statement. “Working together with federal, state and community leaders; clinicians; pharmacies; drug makers; medical equipment providers; and other essential partners, we are confident that we can collectively overcome this challenge and keep the American people safe and healthy.”
Experts advise, however, that the move could mean higher costs for consumers down the road, because some insurers may have to raise premiums in 2021 to cover unanticipated costs related to the coronavirus.