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Texas man says he was billed $54,000 for COVID-19 test
A man in Texas says he was billed $54,000 for a COVID-19 test last year, when testing availability was limited during the earlier months of the pandemic.
Travis Warner and his wife received PCR diagnostic tests and rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 after one of Warner’s employees tested positive for the virus in June 2020, NPR reported on Thursday.
Warner’s work included installation of internet and video systems, requiring him to visit clients’ homes.
After Warner and his wife tested negative for the coronavirus, he received a bill exceeding $56,000 for the tests, according to documents he provided to NPR.
The bill included $54,000 for the PCR test, in addition to fees for the antigen tests and use of the ER facilities.
Health policy researchers told NPR that Warner’s $54,000 bill was “astronomical” and “egregious.”
In an effort to ensure testing for COVID-19 was not cost-prohibitive, lawmakers required that COVID-19 testing be paid for by insurers without copays for the people getting tested during the pandemic.
Insurance companies negotiate prices for the tests that are administered in-network, but out-of-network providers generally require patients to pay the price listed on their websites.
Warner, who had purchased his health care from Molina Healthcare via HealthCare.gov, was tested at an out-of-network site, NPR reported.
His charges were fully covered by his insurance, and a spokesperson from his insurance company told NPR it was a “provider billing error which Molina identified and corrected.”
The Hill has reached out to Molina Healthcare for comment.
COVID-19 test prices range depending on the type of test and physician or facility fees that may be added to them.
“We observed a broad range of COVID-19 testing prices, even within the same hospital system,” the authors of a Kaiser Family Foundation report wrote this year.
The report found that test prices spanned from $20 to $1,419 with about half of tests costing less than $200. The report added that the median test price was $148.
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