Minn. health plans say they will cover costs of COVID-19 tests

Samples are tested for COVID-19.
Mayo Clinic is conducting a drive-through process in Rochester to collect COVID-19 specimens for testing.
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic

People concerned that they may have contracted the coronavirus may not have to worry about paying much, if anything, for tests. But they may see bills for office visit and other costs, depending on their insurer and plan.

The Minnesota Department of Health says 316 Minnesotans have been tested for the virus. Nine were found to have it as of Thursday afternoon.

All the companies that sell private health insurance plans through MNsure are waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles related to coronavirus diagnostic testing. The approximately 125,000 Minnesotans who are enrolled in those plans will have no charges for testing done in compliance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last Friday, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced it will cover the full cost of medically necessary diagnostic tests that follow CDC guidelines. That policy applies to people with individual and employer-provided insurance, as well as those on Medicare-related plans. There are no co-pay, co-insurance or deductible costs for the tests. The health insurer says self-insured employers may also choose to follow the same no-cost policy.

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Early this week, Medica said it will waive co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles related to COVID-19 testing for all fully insured group, individual and Medicare members.

Self-insured employers may also choose to waive testing fees.

HealthPartners said members do not have to pay for a COVID-19 laboratory test, no matter where the test is performed. There’s also no member cost for in-network office or urgent care visits associated with the test.

M Health Fairview is waiving co-pay costs for COVID-19 and upper respiratory infection visits to OnCare, the system’s online clinic. People with certain symptoms and exposure may be directed to a clinic for testing.

UnitedHealthcare has waived all copays, coinsurance and deductibles, for diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines. PreferredOne will cover medically necessary laboratory testing ordered by network providers. Prior authorization is not required, and there are no co-pay, co-insurance or deductible costs for testing.

UCare says it will cover all copays, coinsurance or deductibles for clinician-ordered tests meeting CDC guidelines. The insurer will also cover copays, coinsurance or deductibles for medically necessary clinic and urgent care services when a COVID-19 test is administered.