COVID Tests Free No Longer?
There's good news and bad news on the COVID-19 front. The good news is that state-by-state testing is up dramatically, with some states like New York (over 4.23 million tests in June); California (4.68 million tests); and Florida (2.2. million tests) leading the way.
The bad news? The days of the U.S. government promising "free COVID testing" are coming to an end.
While federal law requires health insurers to cover the costs of enrollees' coronavirus tests, not everyone has health insurance, or at least the right health coverage, to guarantee full payment for COVID-19 testing.
COVID testing costs do vary, with "some insurers" reporting that those costs vary among states, labs, and providers—with charges ranging from as little as $23 to as much as $2,315," according to AdvisoryBoard.
While insurance can help, the larger question is what happens going forward with COVID-19 testing costs.
Mark Galvin, co-Founder and CEO of MyMedicalShopper is on the case.
Galvin's firm MMS has taken a deep dive into costs associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment - and he doesn't like what he's seeing.
"Most states are underway with their reopening phases, but COVID-19 still remains a reality," Galvin says. "Testing has ramped up alongside kit availability and testing costs are being promoted as ‘free’ in many locations. But are they truly coming in at no cost?"
MyMedicalShopper’s preliminary data analysis uncovered that charged amounts ranged from $51 to $351. "This is for both the official CDC and non-official CDC testing facilities," Galvin says. "It appears the price differences for these COVID-19 tests are similar to the differences observed across thousands of types of routine medical care that MMS dedicates itself to shining a light on."
According to Galvin, while the healthcare industry is taking steps to make this test available to all who need it, "the impact of coronavirus-related testing and treatment on future health insurance premiums is unknown, possibly costing billions to the industry and passed on to consumers."
MMS has shown that, like most consumer health care pricing models, price transparency is a proven driver of cost reduction to the consumer.
Let's see if the health care sector is paying attention, and is aiming to keep testing costs low for anxious Main Street Americans.