New York insurers ordered to pay for coronavirus testing: 5 things to know

Insurers in New York will face new regulations concerning coverage for testing and treatment related to the novel coronavirus, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said March 2.

The measure comes as some Americans have faced significant medical bills related to hospital stays and testing for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Five things to know:

1. Under an emergency directive from the New York State Department of Financial Services, New York health insurers will be required to waive cost-sharing related to testing for COVID-19, including emergency room, urgent care and office visits. 

2. Residents with Medicaid coverage won't be required to fulfill copays for any COVID-19 testing.

3. Where appropriate, the state is asking insurers to work on telehealth programs with in-network providers to keep members out of the hospital, if possible. Insurers are also being required to cover a possible COVID-19 vaccine if it becomes available.

4. Mr. Cuomo directed insurers to verify that their provider networks can handle a potential uptick in healthcare services. This includes offering access to out-of-network benefits "where appropriate and required, in the event more COVID-19 cases are diagnosed in New York," according to the state.

5. The regulation doesn't affect self-funded employer-based health plans that aren't regulated by New York state. In those cases, Mr. Cuomo recommends that members contact their employer to answer coverage questions.

Read the full announcement here.


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