Navigating and understanding medical insurance can be challenging at any time, but even more so during a pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about insurance and testing for COVID-19.
Get Insurance and a Healthcare Provider Before You Need Testing
If you do not have insurance, now is a good time to get it. See if you qualify for special enrollment in the Washington Health Benefits Exchange or Apple Health. Visit the Health Benefits Exchange website or call 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 1-855-627-9604 for more information. Unity Care NW and SeaMar Community Health Centers have state-trained insurance navigators for the state Healthplan Finder website who can help you. You can reach Unity Care NW at 360-788-2669 or SeaMar at 855-289-4503.
If you have insurance but do not have a regular healthcare provider, work with your insurance company to find one. It’s a good idea to have your own healthcare provider. They will be a partner in managing your health and will become familiar with your medical history. If you require care for COVID-19 or any other health concern, you’ll want a primary care provider on your team.
Having insurance and a provider makes testing much easier. If you want a COVID-19 test, contact your provider to see if you should get tested. Your provider may conduct the test or give you a referral to take to a testing site.
It won’t cost you anything to get tested. Since March 5, insurance companies in Washington State are required to waive copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for everything associated with COVID-19 testing. That means that you should not have to pay any costs for doctor’s visits or lab fees associated with your COVID-19 screening and testing.
If you are insured and are charged for a COVID-19 testing-associated visit, this is considered a surprise billing. You can file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
If you are uninsured, tell the provider who is ordering your test. There is a federal program, through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), that will cover the costs, but some providers may not have access to it. Your provider will be able to help you find a referral that will cover your costs.
Testing without Insurance or a Provider
We know not everyone will be able to get insured or be able to get a healthcare provider before they need a COVID-19 test. If you have been exposed or have symptoms and are having a hard time getting a test, please call us at 360-778-6100 between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday for assistance. We’ll help connect you to testing.
More information about insurance coverage and testing costs are available on our FAQs page.