McKinley, Pascrell Lead Bipartisan Effort to Secure COVID-19 Testing

Bipartisan Letter to HHS Secretary Expresses Concerns About Recent Coverage Denials for COVID-19 Testing?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — .U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), led a letter with 54 Members of Congress to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar expressing concerns over recent coverage denials from health plans for COVID-19 testing.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress in March and the CARES Act both included provisions ensuring that individuals can receive COVID-19 tests without out-of-pocket costs. However, recent changes have created confusion regarding coverage requirements for COVID-19 testing.

“One of the tools needed for safely reopening our society and getting people back to work and school is for COVID-19 testing to be widely available,” McKinley said. “Cost should not be a barrier for anyone who needs a test. Penalizing people with out-of-pocket costs will only discourage people from getting tested and may prolong this pandemic.”

“Access to covered testing is a critical tool for Americans to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The House took action to ensure coverage for any type of diagnostic test. The Trump administration now must listen to the people’s representatives and implement guidance immediately. To delay any further would risk countless American lives.”

In the letter, McKinley and the other Members wrote:

“Unfortunately, changes made in a tri-agency guidance on June 23, 2020 have created confusion regarding coverage requirements for COVID-19 testing,” wrote the Members. “In recent weeks, there has been an increase of coverage denials from health plans for COVID-19 testing, particularly for asymptomatic individuals.”

For all Americans desiring to safely return to school and work, access to testing is critical. Individuals should not have any question whether they will face out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnostic or antibody testing.  We urge HHS to clarify the June 23 tri-agency guidance to be consistent with congressional intent and, ultimately, so that individuals who need a test can receive one without cost-sharing, medical management, or prior authorization, and regardless of whether the individual is symptomatic,” added the Members.

To read the letter, click here.


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