If you need to get tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19), your health insurance plan probably covers it. If you don’t have coverage, the Trump administration says the test will be administered at no cost.
But getting that message out may be key to encouraging all people with symptoms or exposure to seek testing. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) concludes that the uninsured are likely to face significant barriers to testing for COVID-19 and any care they may need should they contract the virus or be exposed to it.
In recent days, many health insurers have announced that copays are being waived for the tests, and Medicare and Medicaid have said the tests are completely covered as “essential health care benefits.”
Confusion and uncertainty
But the coronavirus could pose additional confusion and uncertainty for patients with the virus who need treatment. A new survey by eHealth shows that 69 percent of consumers say they lack a basic understanding of how testing and treatment of COVID-19 would be covered by their health insurance plan.
Nearly as many -- 64 percent -- said they could not afford to pay out their full annual deductible if hospitalized for treatment of the coronavirus. eHealth CEO Scott Flanders has some good news for those consumers experiencing uncertainty.
"Health insurance enrollees may find some comfort in knowing that the new coronavirus is covered much like any other illness by their major medical health plan," he said. "Most will find that testing for the virus is covered with no out-of-pocket cost.”
Review your health coverage
But for those who test positive and require treatment -- and most who test positive will not -- there is worry about covering the deductible if they have to go into the hospital.
“We encourage consumers to familiarize themselves with the details of their coverage now and contact their insurer or licensed agent with questions or concerns," Flanders said.
How consumers are able to deal with the hardships of the health and financial crisis will depend largely on socioeconomic standing. The eHealth survey found that college-educated and affluent consumers will be better able to adapt to the new normal.
Sixty percent of those with incomes of $100,000 to $150,000 say their jobs allow them to work from home. Only 19 percent of those with a high school education and 36 percent of those earning less than $25,000 a year say they have that flexibility.