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Governor orders health insurance providers waive out-of-pocket costs for preventive coronavirus testing

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Posted at 6:11 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 15:30:44-05

SACREMENTO, Calif. — Faced with a rising concern over the coronavirus and a shortage in testing kits, Governor Gavin Newsom is calling on health insurance providers to waive costs for preventive coronavirus testing.

The governors call falling in-line with Vice President Mike Pence, who said during a press conference earlier this week that "any American that wants to be tested for the coronavirus on their doctor's indications can be tested."

Gov. Newsoms call for cost-waiving comes only one day after California's first coronavirus-related death. Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday and said testing and tracking of people potentially exposed to the virus will be the top priority.

On Wednesday, Placer County health officials reported the death of a resident who likely was exposed on a cruise ship that departed from San Francisco to Mexico on Feb. 11. The person, described as an elderly adult with underlying health conditions, was diagnosed Tuesday and was in isolation at Kaiser Permanente Roseville.

The California Department of Insurance and Department of Managed Health Care ordered all full-service commercial and Medi-Cal plans to “immediately reduce cost-sharing — including, but not limited to, co-pays, deductibles or coinsurance — to zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19, including hospital, emergency department, urgent care and provider office visits where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.”