US health insurance companies will waive copays for testing and cover the cost of treatment for the novel coronavirus, said Vice President Mike Pence during a press briefing today. Medicare and Medicaid will also cover costs without copays.
The CEOs of major insurance companies, including Anthem, Cigna, Humana, and Aetna, attended a briefing at the White House today. The companies also said that there would not be surprise billing for costs associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus. Details of those policies were not available.
“As the testing is expanding, we wanted to make sure the American people knew that testing was available to them and that cost would not be a barrier,” Pence said.
While there are more tests available in the US than there were a few weeks ago, labs still can only conduct a limited number of tests each day. So although there are more tests available, testing capacity is limited. Analysis suggests only a few thousand people have been tested for the virus in the country, and it is still difficult for people who think they may be infected to receive the test.
The major insurance companies also agreed to cover the costs of telemedicine. Medicare is also covering costs associated with remote care, Pence said during the press conference.
There are currently nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19 identified in the US, and public health officials expect that number will continue to rise.