Billing confusion for presumptive COVID-19 cases leaves patients with big charges

Patients who present to hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms but aren't tested for the disease are still facing large bills for flu tests and other services, according to Business Insider.

In one case cited by the publication, a Philadelphia man who had a bad cough and difficulty breathing went to the hospital out of fear he had COVID-19. He was not tested for COVID-19 and was charged $1,689.21 for other services and a flu test. His insurer, Cigna, eventually covered the bill when Business Insider inquired about it.

At issue is confusion around billing for "presumptive" COVID-19 patients. The federal government is requiring insurers to cover testing and treatment for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who are presumed to have it. The policies don't account for patients who think they have COVID-19 but aren't tested for it. Many Americans are facing charges for tests needed to rule out other illnesses despite presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.

Under Cigna's policy, the insurer began waiving patient costs for COVID-19 treatment Feb. 4 and tests March 3. Providers have to use a billing code that indicates a person had COVID-19 or was exposed to it for the policy to apply, according to Business Insider. Like Cigna, other insurers have turned around and paid bills for cases like the Philadelphia man cited above, but it's not a guarantee. 

Read the full article here

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