DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a new order mandating that all licensed health insurance providers in the city cover the cost of coronavirus testing for certain residents who are likely at high risk of exposure.
“We know that the best place to get tested for COVID-19 is at a doctor or with a medical professional who can talk to you about your symptoms, health, and future care. If you need a test, you should get a test and you shouldn’t be worried about the cost,” Bowser said in a press statement. “This is one more way we can keep Washingtonians safe and work to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The DC Department of Insurance Securities and Banking (DISB) will administer the order during the public health emergency that will run through October 9.
Insurers were only required to cover COVID-19 testing in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, before the order.
1/ Today, I mandated that all DC-licensed health insurers cover COVID-19 testing with no cost sharing for certain high-risk residents. This requirement, to be administered through @DCDISB, runs through the duration of the public health emergency.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) August 25, 2020
With the new regulation, free testing will also apply to some asymptomatic people who work in high risk environments, are at high risk for complications from the virus-related disease, or have been exposed to a diagnosed person.
According to the order, DC residents in those categories will be able to get tested once per week with no cost sharing and without the need for a prior doctor approval.
“For example, under the new Order, an asymptomatic individual who works at a long-term care facility can go to their doctor for a COVID-19 test and it will be covered by their insurance,” the mayor’s statement explained.
In addition, testing for employees who are asked by their employers to provide a negative test in order to return to work after remotely working or after the business’ reopening may also be covered by insurers, as per the order, though it is not required.