Washington and New York are forcing health insurers to cut patients’ costs for coronavirus testing

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday night that he plans to require health insurers in New York state to lower patients’ costs associated with testing for the novel coronavirus. 

The move comes a day after New York had its first confirmed case of coronavirus and amid concerns that getting tested for the virus may be unaffordable to many. Cuomo said insurers in New York won’t be allowed to impose cost-sharing like copays on patients who see a doctor or go to the hospital for coronavirus testing.

“Containing this virus depends on us having the facts about who has it – and these measures will break down any barriers that could prevent New Yorkers from getting tested,” Cuomo said in a news release Monday.

In addition, New Yorkers who are covered via Medicaid won’t be expected to pay a co-pay for coronavirus testing, Cuomo said.

An American and his daughter who were quarantined for two weeks in California face more than $2,600 in medical bills. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not billing for testing for the COVID-19 virus, a stay at the hospital for suspected cases of coronavirus could set Americans back thousands.

New York said Monday that all tests run out of the state’s Wadsworth Lab are being fully covered as well. 

Read more: Coronavirus testing is free, but the hospital trip may set you back thousands. One graphic breaks down potential costs.

The directive doesn’t necessarily pertain to people who get their health insurance through their jobs, because health plans offered by self-insured employers aren’t regulated by the state.

As of Monday, the US had reported nearly 100 cases of coronavirus and six deaths. All of the deaths were reported in Washington state. 

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