Is Coronavirus Covered by Health Insurance in USA?
Coronavirus testing is free but not treatment. Aetna, Cigna cover hospitalization but not UnitedHealthCare. B2 visitor travel insurance - not a pre-existing condition.
Will you be treated free or your medical insurance will cover Coronavirus treatment in the USA is the primary question asked by B2 visitors and H1B workers today.
Is COVID-19 Test Free?
The CARES Act or the stimulus act signed by Trump makes it mandatory for all medical insurance plans to provide coronavirus testing without any co-pay cost.
As per the bill:
- COVID-19 testing will be free irrespective of whether you have insurance or not.
- Other associated costs that hospitals charge like Ambulance, treatment, and medications may not be free.
As per an excellent report shared by New York times, the E.R. visit and other services performed would be “eligible for cost-sharing”. So, it is important you stay at home not for the fear of Coronavirus but for the medical bills.
UHC, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have waived co-pay for testing related visits for COVID-19:
- You visit your doctor’s clinic,
- an urgent care center,
- an emergency department or
- Telehealth visit.
They have covered all plans including Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and employer-sponsored plans which are mostly used by American employees including H1B and L workers.
You should connect with your family physician for COVID-19 testing as only a doctor can order a test kit.
You can also use the drive-through testing if it has been set up by your state around your location and the cost will be paid by your insurance company.
Is Coronavirus Treatment Free?
The Coronavirus test and treatment are two different things. All insurance companies are required to pay the diagnostic test cost but not the treatment or hospitalization.
This means that your deductibles, copays, and coinsurance will apply for your Coronavirus treatment at the hospital.
Some companies have announced coverage of both tests and treatment but not all at the time of writing this article.
#1 COVID Treatment Cost NOT Covered by
- UnitedHealthcare will pay costs as per your insurance plan
- Blue Cross Blue Shield will only cover member’s test costs and hospitalization costs will be paid as per plan.
#2 Treatment Cost Covered by
- Aetna (a CVS company) has announced that they will waive the member costs for hospitalization at all in-network facilities.
- CNBC reported that Cigna and Humana have also announced a waiver of patient costs including hospitalization and ambulance transfer.
Visitor Travel Insurance
The visitor visa insurance that you may have bought before coming to the US may or may not cover Coronavirus tests and treatments.
Your best option is to check with your insurance company. If they do not cover, you need to check with your current state for free COVID-19 tests.
Most travel insurance companies have turned a blind eye to people who visit a country that a CDC, WHO, or another government agency has issued an alert to not visit during COVID-19 Pandemic. This simply means that the coronavirus test or treatment will not be covered.
Coronavirus treatment should not be considered a pre-existing condition under travel insurance plans.
There are some travel insurance providers who will cover the Coronavirus cost but only if the travel was made before the travel alert was issued by that country or WHO.
For Indians in the USA on B2 visa:
- Indian company ICICILombard has mentioned that your travel insurance will cover your COVID-19 treatment if you are hospitalized.
- You should get cashless facilities at network hospitals in the USA or claim reimbursement later as per your plan.
If you bought your travel insurance from a US-based company, they should also cover COVID-19 costs.
Is HSA Account Allowed?
The new bill signed by Trump allows the buying of menstrual care products and other over-the-counter medications under health care flexible spending accounts, reports Winston.
All over-the-counter products and medicines including those needed in quarantine and social distancing can be bought using an HSA or flexible spending account without a prescription from a physician.
Recent discussion on forum
Just to add to it - Also check your state’s guidelines.
For example, according to MA’s division of insurance guidelines, all health insurers in MA have to cover the full cost of testing, counseling, treatment, and vaccination-related to covid19. Copays and deductibles will not apply.
So please check your state guidelines as well.
Thank you very much for this wonderful post, I was just about to share a NY times article in this regard.
Medical costs are a very prominent cause of personal bankruptcy in this country.
Please please take a minute to look at the details of your health insurance and ensure all your family members are covered too.
Check what kind of co-pays, deductibles and upper limits you have. Check which are your in-network and out of network providers, and what is the cost if you go to an out of network provider.
To give you perspective, an ICU admission costs 4000-5000$ per day, if you are intubated the costs rise to 10,000-20,000$ per day. If you are terribly unlucky you may need a procedure called ECMO, which can surely bring your cost to the million dollar territory.
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