Concerns are growing as a US reimbursement fund for uninsured Covid patients stops taking claims.

As the White House pleads Republicans to Congress emergency aid to fight coronavirus , the federal government said that a fund created ...


As the White House pleads Republicans to Congress emergency aid to fight coronavirus, the federal government said that a fund created to reimburse doctors for the care of uninsured Covid patients was no longer accepting requests for testing and treatment “due to a lack of sufficient funds”.

Some US healthcare providers are telling uninsured people they can no longer be tested for the virus for free and will have to pay for the service.

Quest Diagnostics, which operates one of the largest networks of testing sites and labs in the United States, began notifying customers last week that refunds were no longer available, Kimberly B. Gorode said Sunday, Channel spokesperson.

Patients “are being told they can’t get it for free,” she said. Uninsured people will now have to pay $125 for molecular tests through QuestDirect, or $100 if ordered by a doctor affiliated with Quest Diagnostics. Other testing services may charge up to $195.

Clients enrolled in a private insurance plan, or covered by Medicare or Medicaid, are not affected, she said.

The Federal Covid Uninsured Program was created in 2020 to pay medical bills for coronavirus patients who do not have health coverage. At the beginning of this year, during the Omicron wave, the program allowed large laboratories to carry out 500,000 tests per month for free on uninsured people, according to the American Clinical Laboratory Association.

In 2021, the program spent $130 million Reimburse providers for screening, treatment and vaccination of uninsured people.

About 31.2 million Americans are uninsuredaccording to federal data in 2020. Uninsured people were more likely to be people of color or from low-income families.

The White House recently requested $22.5 billion in Covid emergency aidbut Republicans in Congress said they would not approve another aid program unless the White House finds another way to find the funds and lawmakers still struggle to break the deadlock. An original deal to use about $7 billion in state government coronavirus aid to help pay for a smaller $15.6 billion package fell apart earlier this month when the House Democrats and grassroots governors opposed the clawback of that money.

On Wednesday, the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration stopped accepting testing and treatment requests for uninsured patients. On April 6, the agency will stop reimbursing providers for vaccinating uninsured people.

Senior Federal Health Officials reiterated their concerns on Wednesday on the impact of blocked funding amid the spread of BA.2, a highly transmissible Omicron sub-variant accounting for about 35% of new cases in the United States and a form of virus similar to the version that swept the country this winter.

Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, warned last week that reimbursements for tests were ending.

“Continued execution requires continued congressional support,” he said, referencing President Biden’s recently released Covid response plan. “And at this point, our resources are exhausted.”

Pharmacies operate 20,000 testing sites across the country, and until this month many used federal emergency funds to provide testing and vaccinations to uninsured Americans.

“This places healthcare providers in an extremely precarious position,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said. written in a recent letter to the White House and congressional leaders.

Cutting funding “could create extreme confusion at the pharmacy counter,” the letter says, and “could result in the tragedy of increasing disparities in access to much-needed care and patients forgoing care.”

The American Hospital Association urged Congress to release relief funds, describing the uninsured program as one of the services “essential to our country’s ability to respond to Covid-19”.

In some cases, county, state or other federal programs can be an alternative for uninsured people.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Concerns are growing as a US reimbursement fund for uninsured Covid patients stops taking claims.
Concerns are growing as a US reimbursement fund for uninsured Covid patients stops taking claims.
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