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You can now be billed for COVID-19 treatments. Here's what insurance companies are doing

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 most health care providers voluntarily waved the cost of treating COVID-19 patients.

WASHINGTON, USA — Patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 might get stuck with the bill despite an order from the Washington Insurance Commissioner. 

According to a report by Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker most private insurers are no longer waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment. While early in the pandemic the vast majority of health care providers waived out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 patients because of the availability of safe and highly effective vaccines private insurers are phasing out cost-sharing waivers.

Now that vaccines are available and one is approved by the Food and Drug Administrations, some insurance companies are charging co-pays and other fees for people who catch COVID-19. 

In Washington, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended two emergency orders that would require insurers to waive the co-pay and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. The second-order protects customers from surprise bills for lab fees and medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Both orders were extended until Oct. 3. 

Kreidler's orders waiving cost-sharing apply to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term, limited-duration medical plans. 

Premera Blue Cross' website says that they will be continuing COVID-19 treatment costs they will be still covered as a medical expense. 

United Health Care's website says patients will be responsible for any copay, coinsurance, deductible, or out-of-network costs.

Kaiser Permanente's website says that all COVID-19 screening or testing if referred by a Kaiser Permanente doctor will be covered at no cost. However, If diagnosed with COVID-19, additional services, including hospital admission, will be covered according to specific plan details.

Medicaid recipients will not see any charges for coronavirus treatment co-pays.

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