Copays, testing costs could be waived for COVID-19 diagnostics

Posted at 9:57 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 08:17:07-04

MICHIGAN — Members of Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBSM) of Michigan and Michigan Medicaid recipients will get a break on co-pays and other fees for coronavirus testing.

It was announced Friday night by both the insurance agency and the governor that certain costs associated with diagnosing COVID-19 would be waived.

“These are extraordinary times..." said Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM. “Having symptoms of coronavirus and waiting for test results to come back is hard enough. Our members shouldn’t have to worry about paying their copays, too.”

“So far we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan, however we must take steps to ensure every Michigander has access to the care they need to combat the spread of this disease,” said Governor Whitmer. She announced that Michigan Medicaid would waive co-pays and cost-sharing for testing and treatment related to COVID-19.

Under BCBSM's announcement, they "will waive prior authorizations for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance if diagnosed with COVID-19."

The cost of medically necessary diagnostics will be covered so long as they are consistent with CDC guidelines for detecting COVID-19. They are also expanding access to their tele-health and 24-hour nurse hot-line and adjusting some limitations on early medication refills for certain medication. Go to the BCBSM blog for more information.

" I also want to applaud the leadership of insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Priority Health, CVS Health, McLaren, and Meridian for waiving copays and deductibles for coronavirus testing," Governor Whitmer continued in her statement. "I strongly encourage all health insurers in Michigan to follow suit to help protect public health and protect families’ pocketbooks.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories said their testing capacity has nearly doubled as of Thursday. Four tasks forces were created by leadership in Lansing to fight the spread of the disease and monitor its affect on Michiganders including the economy, state operations, education, and public health.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and the CDC still maintains the risk to the U.S. is low. The best prevention remains the same for any virus: washing hands often, avoid contact with sick people, avoid contact with the public if you are sick, and try not to touch your face or nose. It is imperative to stopping the spread of the virus to cover sneezes and coughs.