/New York and Washington: Insurers must waive costs for coronavirus test – Business Insider

New York and Washington: Insurers must waive costs for coronavirus test – Business Insider

  • States are starting to require insurers to waive costs to patients related to the coronavirus. 
  • Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on Thursday issued an emergency order that requires insurers in the state to waive copays and other costs associated with getting tested for the novel coronavirus. 
  • It follows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision Monday night to issue a directive requiring health insurers in New York to waive cost-sharing associated with getting tested for the novel coronavirus.
  • The decisions come amid concerns that getting tested for the virus may be unaffordable to many. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

States are starting to require health insurers to waive costs to members who require testing for the novel coronavirus. 

On Thursday, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said that he issued an emergency order that requires Washington state insurers to waive copays and other costs associated with getting tested for the novel coronavirus, effective immediately. 

The order follows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement Monday night that he plans to require health insurers in New York state to lower patients’ costs associated with testing for the novel coronavirus. 

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FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2019 file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a bill signing ceremony in New York. Cuomo says his state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs. Federal officials say they took the step because of a new New York law barring immigrant agents from getting access to state motor vehicle records. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Associated Press


The moves come as the novel coronavirus spreads in the US and amid concerns that getting tested for the virus may be unaffordable to many. Cuomo said insurers in New York won’t be allowed to impose cost-sharing like copays on patients who see a doctor or go to the hospital for coronavirus testing.

“Containing this virus depends on us having the facts about who has it – and these measures will break down any barriers that could prevent New Yorkers from getting tested,” Cuomo said in a news release Monday.

In addition, New Yorkers who are covered via Medicaid won’t be expected to pay a co-pay for coronavirus testing, Cuomo said.

An American and his daughter who were quarantined for two weeks in California face more than $2,600 in medical bills. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not billing for testing for the COVID-19 virus, a stay at the hospital for suspected cases of coronavirus could set Americans back thousands.

New York said Monday that all tests run out of the state’s Wadsworth Lab are being fully covered as well. 

Read more: Coronavirus testing is free, but the hospital trip may set you back thousands. One graphic breaks down potential costs.

The New York directive doesn’t necessarily pertain to people who get their health insurance through their jobs, because health plans offered by self-insured employers aren’t regulated by the state. The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner noted that the order applies to state-regulated health insurance plans as well as short-term limited duration medical plans, lasting until May 4. 

As of Thursday, the US had reported more than 180 cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths. 

This article was initially published on March 2 and has been updated. 

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