Gov. Wolf: Federal Funding Available for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment for Uninsured Patients
May 18, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf announced today that through the federal stimulus bills providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment services will be able to be reimbursed for providing those services to uninsured patients.
“All Pennsylvanians should have access to necessary testing for COVID-19 and this federal funding will help eliminate any financial burden on those both providing and receiving tests,” Gov. Wolf said.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) also reminded Pennsylvanians of the continued availability of health coverage through the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medical Assistance (MA), or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“We are also pleased to work with the federal government to ensure that people who are uninsured can receive COVID-19 testing and treatment without worrying about how to pay for it. No Pennsylvanian should forego medically-necessary testing for fear of what it might cost, and providers will be able to collect payment for testing and services directly from the federal government,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “Affordable health care and access to it is a necessity at all times, but it is especially vital during a health crisis. DHS is always working to make sure that people who need coverage to protect themselves and their children have it. I encourage anyone who may need coverage to apply for Medicaid or CHIP.”
As part of the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act and CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 and treating uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Payments for uninsured individuals will be administered through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
HRSA is accepting claims as of May 6 and will accept claims for services dating back to February 4, 2020. Providers should access the HRSA website at https://coviduninsuredclaim.linkhealth.com/ to learn what services are covered, determine who is eligible, submit claims, and find more information.
COVID-19 testing is mandatory coverage for individual and marketplace insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Pennsylvanians can apply online for both Medicaid and CHIP at www.compass.state.pa.us. Medicaid and CHIP enroll individuals throughout the year and do not have a limited or special enrollment time, so people needing health coverage can apply for these programs at any time. There are income limits for Medicaid, but no income limits for children to qualify for coverage through CHIP.
“The Affordable Care Act has ensured that we have health insurance options available, even if people lose the coverage they currently have,” Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said. “Individuals and families can sign-up for health coverage through the marketplace at healthcare.gov, outside of the annual open enrollment period, if they experience a life change that qualifies them from a Special Enrollment Period. These circumstances include the loss of health insurance provided by an employer, which many individuals may experience during the COVID-19 outbreak. There are several resources available for displaced employees during this difficult time, so I encourage those affected to reach out for guidance and assistance.”
The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) offers free, personal, no pressure, no obligation, non-biased enrollment assistance. PACHC and its network of Community Health Centers are available to assist you in navigating and enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medical Assistance (MA), Medicare and CHIP. Certified Exchange Assisters are available throughout Pennsylvania to help residents enroll in these programs.
Pennsylvanians can find exchange assisters in their area here. Individuals can also search by using the find a health center page. Individuals with additional questions or in need of further assistance can contact the PACHC’s Navigator Hub at 1-866-944-CARE (2273).
Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.