Many insurance providers aren’t covering workplace testing for the coronavirus, which could hinder efforts by small businesses to reopen safely, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Major insurers, including Aetna, CVS Health Corp., UnitedHealth Group Inc., and Cigna Corp., are generally not covering screenings for the virus that are done at the behest of an employer on their employees. Health-benefits experts note that insurers generally do not cover workplace testing for illicit drugs.
Steve Wojcik, a vice president at the Business Group on Health, an organization that represents employers, told the Journal that it’s “not medically necessary” for employers to test for the virus. “It is for the safety of the workplace,” and so, “like other workplace safety measures, it wouldn’t come through the health plan.”
Mott Corp., a Connecticut-based manufacturing company with 150 employees, is spending over $30,000 per month on coronavirus testing, according to CEO Boris Levin, who noted that six people have tested positive. According to federal guidance and the state’s insurance rules, health insurance providers do not have to cover testing unless a doctor orders one, or unless a person has been in contact with someone who is infected with the virus.
Several trade groups, including the American Benefits Council, the Business Group on Health and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, have called on congressional leaders to secure additional federal funding to pay for workplace testing.
“The employers that will incur the greatest challenges associated with widespread testing in order to bring employees back to the workplace are among the enterprises that have been hardest hit by the economic consequences of the pandemic,” they wrote.
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