March 13, 2020

Wyden Introduces Bill to Expand Free Coronavirus Testing

Legislation Would Expand Free Coronavirus Testing and Related Health Care Services to People on Private Insurance, in Medicare, Medicaid and the Uninsured

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden – along with Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) —led a number of their Democratic Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

“Adequate testing for COVID-19 is a critical step to stem the tide of the pandemic,” Wyden said. “Beyond increasing the availability of the test, it needs to be free so Americans don’t have to choose between getting tested or putting food on the table for their loved ones. People need to know that they can walk into their health provider without fear of getting a big medical bill for the test.”

The Free COVID-19 Testing Act introduced this week would waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private health plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA as well as for federal civilians, American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Private insurers would be barred from imposing limits like prior authorization for testing. For uninsured individuals, this legislation would cover the cost of lab fees, and states would have the option and new incentives to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services through their Medicaid programs.

In addition to Sens. Wyden, Smith, Peters, Schumer and Murray, this legislation is also supported by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Text of the Free COVID-19 Testing Act is here.