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Health insurance and coronavirus (COVID-19) frequently as

Q: Will my insurance cover testing and treatment for COVID19?

A: The cost of testing and treatment for coronavirus, or any disease or condition for that matter, is generally a matter of your medical coverage. Consult your policy for details of things like copayments and deductibles. Also, be aware that there have been public policy discussions underway exploring ways to make COVID-19 testing as widely available as possible, so check the news daily. By all means, consult your business property and casualty coverage to determine if you have any pertinent coverages for testing. But, more often than not, testing and treatment for diseases is a peril covered by your medical insurance.

Q: Is testing free? Is the patient exam free?

A: Outside of free clinics, most medical tests and exams cost money. But due to the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic local and federal government are initiating efforts to try to reduce or eliminate any financial barrier to getting tested. If you have medical coverage through your employer, consult your insurance provider or your HR department for details on what exactly might be covered and what portion, if any, would be an out of pocket expense. If you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid you can check their web site or, better yet, contact your primary health care provider for details. The coronavirus pandemic is changing swiftly so pay attention to the news for the latest details of the availability and costs of testing for COVI-19.

Q: Will my health insurer waive my deductible since this has been declared an emergency?

A: In Washington, state-regulated health plans have been ordered by the insurance Commissioner to waive any copayments or deductibles for those who require testing for COVID-19. But be advised at the time of this writing testing is not universally available to all who ask for it. Pending larger rollouts of reliable kits, testing is used on those who are already presenting symptoms. Contact your health care provider immediately if you are symptomatic, alert them to your condition, schedule an appointment and ask about any pertinent fees or deductibles.

Q: What if I have a high-deductible health plan with a health-savings account?

A: High Deductible Health Plans, or HDHP, combines aspects of Health Savings accounts with traditional medical coverage. As its name indicates, there are are relatively high deductible levels, but once that threshold has been met, costs are usually covered at a rate of 100%. Check your own policy for the precise details. Money placed in such an account is not subject to taxation. Your premiums, in other words, are paid on a pretax basis from your paycheck. In the state of Washington, High Deductible Health Plan copayments or deductible costs for coronavirus testing. Check your own state or insurance carriers for additional updated details

Q: What guidance are you giving to health insurers, if any?

A: Frequently, in order to get a particular medical test your health insurance provider may require prior approval, copayments and a deductible if your limit has not already been met. Washington State has mandated that those restrictions be waived for the near term for any coronavirus test required by covered patients. In addition, Washington is asking insurance providers to waive restrictions on out-of-network if their current network of providers is insufficient to cover demand. People from other states are urged to stay abreast of the rapidly changing developments to ensure that they know how their own health care coverages may be impacted.

Q: Will my health plan allow me to refill my prescriptions early so I can have a 30-day supply on hand?

A: Virtually all states are encouraging social distancing as a way to slow the growth rate of the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, some states are mandating some health care providers to allow for early refills to allow for patients to have a 30 supply of their medications. The federal government is doing the same for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. Check your health care providers for details to ensure that your particular medication will be allowed an early refill. Stay abreast of details online and via telephone to your provider.

Q: Could I get a surprise bill if I need testing or treatment for coronavirus? 

A: Legislation is working its way through the federal government to ensure that testing and treatment of coronavirus is provided without costs to affected patients. No one wants the contagion to be spread because a sick patients lacking the economic means to get tested and get treated forgo treatment. This will likely even include treatment at hospital emergency rooms. As always. Stay abreast of current developments, contact your insurance provider for specific details and consider contacting your state insurance regulators.

Q: Will my health plan cover telemedicine for testing or treatment of coronavirus?

A: Telemedicine services must generally meet government standards in order to be covered by virtually any health care provider. However, if an in-network provider delivers telemedicine services, most state regulated carriers are mandated to cover such expense. Consult with your particular health care provider and insurance carrier to ascertain whether telemedicine. is an option for you should you require testing or treatment for coronavirus.

Q: What should you do if you don’t have health insurance?

A: Those without current health coverage should see immediately see if they qualify for Medicaid, which is determined by your income level. Unlike other health plans, you can enroll in Medicaid year round, should you qualify for their coverage. Others should explore getting as policy through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment for ACA plans goes through early April. After that, you would need to seek an exception in order to enroll. But anyone exhibiting symptoms should self-isolate and contact a health care provider immediately

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