Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | virus test | medical bills

Surprise Medical Bills During the Coronavirus Crisis

a coronavirus test site in los angeles
A coronavirus test site in Los Angeles (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 15 June 2020 12:35 PM

When Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., got a coronavirus test, she was surprised to receive a note from her insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, stating that in addition to her $20 copay, she may also owe $56.60. Porter, who represents California's 45th Congressional District, knew the explanation of benefits statement was a mistake because she voted for the current law that requires insurance companies to cover coronavirus testing without cost-sharing.

According to Axios, UnitedHealth Group responded by saying there was an error in COVID-19 billing codes and that it would waive those charges and reevaluate claims from others to ensure they were handled correctly.

However, several healthcare insurers said that they would only pay for coronavirus tests that were deemed "medically necessary," according to Axios. Insurance companies have stated that they don't want to cover the costs for the hundreds of thousands of tests public health officials said are necessary to identify and contain the spread of the virus.

Another loophole is that if a patient gets tested in an out-of-network facility, he or she is likely to get a bill, just as they would under normal, non-coronavirus conditions. But Porter is sticking to her guns and pushing for free testing for all.

"We will not be able to truly reopen and rebuild if Americans rightly fear costly medical bills for visiting their healthcare providers for coronavirus tests,” Porter wrote in a letter to top Health and Human Service officials, reported Axios, asking the administration to implement the law more forcefully.

America's Health Insurance Plans has a complete listing of medical insurers and where they stand on cost-sharing for coronavirus tests.

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When Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., got a coronavirus test, she was surprised to receive a note from her insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, stating that in addition to her $20 copay, she may also owe $56.60.
virus test, medical bills
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2020-35-15
Monday, 15 June 2020 12:35 PM
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