Insurers Sound Alarm Over Increasingly Pricey COVID-19 Tests

With the COVID-19 pandemic getting worse than ever, health insurers are facing an uncertain level of exposure to testing costs. That’s because payers and plan sponsors are on the hook for the entire cost of coronavirus tests — which can vary widely — and they could be required to pay for even more testing depending on the strategy that the Biden administration plans to pursue.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act require plan sponsors to pay all in- and out-of-network claims for diagnostic and antibody testing services. The CARES Act says those claims must be paid at a listed “cash price,” which essentially allows labs to name a price for test processing.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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