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Wisconsin insurers waive cost-sharing for coronavirus testing, divided on provider visits

Wisconsin insurers waive cost-sharing for coronavirus testing, divided on provider visits

Wisconsin insurers are waiving cost-sharing for testing for the new coronavirus. But plans are divided on whether they’ll waive the copays, deductibles and coinsurance for provider visits associated with the screening.

The Wisconsin Association of Health Plans said Friday its 12 members will cover, without cost-sharing or prior authorization, diagnostic laboratory testing for the virus when recommended by a provider.

“Community-based health plans are reaffirming their long-standing commitment to sufficient provider networks so members who need care have the peace of mind they can be properly treated,” a statement noted.

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance asked plans earlier this month to waive cost-sharing for testing as well as cost-sharing for visits to provider offices, urgent care centers, hospitals and emergency rooms when the basis is related to testing for the coronavirus.

Kelsey Avery, director of public policy and communications at the association, said many health plans are still evaluating cost-sharing for in-person visits associated with testing.

Health plans throughout the state are divided. For instance, UnitedHealthcare and Security Health Plan are waiving cost-sharing for the testing, but leaving the cost-sharing for provider visits covered as normal. WPS Health Solutions is covering testing for customers and the screening cost through Teladoc. It’s evaluating other measures, per a spokesman.

Meanwhile, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, Dean Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, WEA Trust, Health Tradition Health Plan and Children’s Community Health Plan are waiving cost-sharing for the test and related provider visits.

Health plans are asking members to contact providers before seeking in-person care and use remote care options like 24-hour nurse lines and virtual visits for initial evaluation, first steps that are often available to enrollees at no cost in many cases, Avery noted.

The House approved legislation Friday that would require health plans to cover both the diagnostic testing as well as the cost of provider, urgent care and emergency room visits to receive the testing. The Senate has yet to act on the measure.

Wisconsin Health News is removing the password on all stories related to the coronavirus. For the latest developments follow us on Twitter at @wihealthnews or check out our website. For complete healthcare coverage, sign up for a free trial to our daily email newsletter. 


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