Vague guidance creates confusion over who should pay for COVID-19 tests

Guidance released late last month by the U.S. government about free COVID-19 testing is causing widespread confusion over who should bear the costs of the tests, Kaiser Health News reported. 

Early in the pandemic, the government and insurers vowed to keep COVID-19 diagnostic tests free without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs to ensure everyone had access. 

But last month, the government issued new guidance saying insurers only had to waive patient costs for "medically appropriate tests," according to Kaiser Health News, and it is unclear which tests are considered medically appropriate. 

Kaiser Health News posed several questions that the guidance doesn't resolve, including if employees are required to be tested to return to work, is that considered a medically appropriate test? If an individual believes they have been exposed to the virus, is that a medically appropriate test?

The question often comes down to a physician's judgement, Kaiser Health News reported. 

A spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans told Kaiser Health News that insurers will continue to pay for tests as long as they are recommended by a physician. 

"There's definitely a disconnect between what public health experts are recommending for testing and how it's going to be paid for," Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., told Kaiser Health News. 

Read the full article here.


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