Colorado requires some insurers to waive virus test fees

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DENVER (AP) — Colorado will soon require the health insurance insurers it regulates to fully cover testing, under certain conditions, for the new coronavirus.

The Division of Insurance is ordering insurers to waive co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance payments for covered persons seeking testing for COVID-19.

The waivers apply only to patients who have been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 and who shows symptoms of lower respiratory illness.  

News & Resources: Updates on the coronavirus

They also apply to patients with symptoms who’ve traveled to areas where infection rates are high, or patients hospitalized with severe respiratory illnesses without a diagnosis.

Colorado announced a ninth positive test for the coronavirus on Monday.  

“The worst place you can be right now is in a lobby a waiting room of a clinic, urgent care or an emergency room,” Dr. Blake McKinney said, adding, “A lot of people are rushing in with the new coronavirus.

McKinney started a telehealth service in Denver called CirrusMD that allows patients to chat with a doctor from home about health concerns like the new coronavirus.

“For many, our advice is going to be that you should stay at home,” McKinney said. “There might be someone with respiratory illness and even a known exposure and we are going to talk about whether seeking a test or simply staying at home on a quarantine is the right choice for you.”

McKinney’s practice mainly has doctors text back and forth with patients to ask telling questions to gauge their needs.

“If I’m talking to a person and they are otherwise healthy and they are young and I’m able to assess enough about them, I may ask them if they are short of breath,” McKinney said. “If they say, 'No, I’m breathing comfortably,' that’s a lot of information. If I ask if they are able to walk up a flight a stairs right now and are not short-winded, that’s a vital sign.”

Testing criteria for the virus can be found on the state's website.

Anyone with questions about their insurance and coverage can contact the Division of Insurance Consumer Services team at 303-894-7490 (metro Denver) or 800-930-3745 (outside metro Denver). The team can also be reached via email at: DORA_Insurance@state.co.us

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