On Wednesday, March 18, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act after the United States Senate passed HR 6201. This legislation contains a number of provisions that remove cost-barriers to COVID-19 testing, including:
- Group and individual health insurance plans “shall” provide coverage and “shall not” impose any cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance, for FDA-approved testing (diagnostic products and administration of tests) for COVID-19 or any “items and services” that relate to testing or evaluation, furnished in the course of a provider office, telehealth, urgent care, or emergency room visit “that results in an order” for a COVID-19 test;
- Waives cost-sharing under Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage Plans for COVID-19 testing-related services and provider visits for: office and outpatient; hospital observation; emergency department; nursing facilities; domiciliary, rest home, or custodial care services; home; and online digital services. Medicare Part B already covers COVID-19 testing at no cost-sharing.
- Directs states to cover COVID-19 testing-related services and visits under their respective Medicaid and CHIP state plans, including the option for states to extend Medicaid eligibility to uninsured populations for the purpose of COVID-19 diagnostic testing, matched by the federal government at 100 percent.
- Provides coverage for COVID-19 testing under TRICARE, Veterans Affairs, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and the Indian Health Services.
- Provides $1 billion in reimbursement under the National Disaster Medical System for uninsured individuals for COVID-19 testing and services. NDMS is a federally coordinated healthcare system and partnership of HHS, Homeland Security, DOD, and the VA.
Additional details can be found in sections 6001-6004 of the bill, available here.