At the start of the pandemic, much about COVID-19 was unknown: how to treat the virus, when would a vaccine be developed, and the costs of effectively treating the virus.
Previously, insurers waived the costs of specified COVID-19 related services (i.e., emergency room copayments, testing charges, and hospital stay deductibles). However, the time for those waived costs is coming to an end. COVID-19 is being treated like other diseases, having no special exceptions.
While testing for COVID-19 was free at the start of the pandemic, now the cost for screening procedures and testing could be upwards of $200, depending on circumstances and the insurance plan details. Fortunately, testing when medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor, will still be covered by insurance. This may not include routine school and workplace testing. Checking plan details or speaking with human resources will be the best way to determine what is covered by insurance.
How to Curb Costs
- One way to avoid paying steep prices for COVID-19 treatment is to protect yourself from contracting it in the first place. The CDC still recommends wearing a mask indoors, social distancing when possible, and getting vaccinated as the best ways to avoid the coronavirus.
- Often, depending on cost-sharing responsibilities, it is more cost-efficient to visit urgent care as opposed to the emergency room. However, in the event of a true emergency, it is always best to proceed directly to the emergency room. Review your plan documents to compare costs and determine the best path forward.
- Asking for an itemized bill when visiting a medical facility allows you to catch incorrect or duplicated charges. Medical bills can be confusing or even frustrating to understand. Use your resources within the facility or contact your provider’s billing office for assistance. They can help you plan the next steps when reimbursement is owed or if your bill needs to be revised.
Despite the uncertainty that surrounded COVID-19 when it first came on the scene, more information is being learned about the virus every day. Procedures, testing, and vaccines were created and implemented. Increased COVID-19 medical bills are on the horizon, but there are known ways to keep those costs down.