Democrats press insurers to cover all coronavirus testing

Democrats press insurers to cover all coronavirus testing
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Democratic senators are urging health insurance companies to cover all tests when a patient has a "presumptive" COVID-19 diagnosis, not just the limited official diagnostic. 

In a letter sent Friday to the CEOs of six of the country's largest insurers, a group of Democratic senators asked for a commitment to completely cover all services associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis, like imaging and blood work, even if there has not been an official test performed.

The Democrats, led by Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask Sen. Shaheen tells Biden campaign she does not want to be vetted for VP MORE (N.H.), pointed to the current scarcity of diagnostics tests for the novel coronavirus.

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"Because we currently lack the capacity to provide authorized COVID-19 testing to all who need it, providers are often unable to access authorized diagnostic testing in order to confirm cases of COVID-19, and are instead forced to pursue other courses of diagnostic and therapeutic care to ensure the health and well-being of these patients," the letter said. 

"Until widespread access to authorized COVID-19 testing is available to every patient who needs it, temporary coverage without cost-sharing for these diagnostic services, and subsequent treatment, is just as important as coverage of authorized COVID-19 tests," the Democrats wrote. 

The letter was sent to the CEOs of Aetna, Cigna, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealth, as well as to the CEO of the lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans.

The coronavirus legislation signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE earlier this week will require insurance companies to cover without cost-sharing all authorized COVID-19 tests, as well as any care that results in the ordering of an authorized diagnostic test. It does not address the cost of any subsequent treatment or hospitalization. 

But the lawmakers noted that patients who can't access an authorized test could be exposed to high copays, coinsurance and surprise medical bills, especially if they are forced to seek care from an out-of-network hospital or provider.

With the financial security of knowing a "presumptive" positive diagnosis will be covered, the lawmakers said patients will be able to receive the full scope of essential diagnostic and therapeutic care, "including guidance on self-isolation for themselves and their families" even without an authorized COVID-19 diagnostic test.