Federal government to pay for COVID-19 tests for uninsured patients

April 28, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will reimburse healthcare providers, generally at Medicare rates, for testing uninsured patients for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The program and funding for it were authorized by two recently enacted laws: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Under the program, providers must submit all claims as complete and final. Balance billing and appeals of denied claims will not be allowed.

The program also will reimburse providers for treating uninsured patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 or who are pregnant with COVID-19 as a secondary diagnosis.

For testing, the HRSA will pay for specimen collection and both diagnostic and antibody testing. The agency also will pay for testing-related encounters with providers in office settings, urgent care centers, emergency departments or telehealth platforms.

For treatment, HRSA will pay for professional and facility charges in a variety of settings including medical offices, inpatient units, emergency departments, skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute care facilities (LTAC), acute inpatient rehab and patient homes.

Sign up for the program, which is being administered by United Healthcare on behalf of the government, began on April 27.

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