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Pascrell, McKinley Celebrate Administration Insisting Insurance Companies Make COVID Testing, Vaccines Free

In October 2020, duo led 50 Democrats and Republicans calling on HHS to give Americans financial flexibility amid pandemic

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and David McKinley (R-WV-01) celebrated the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finally insisting that all insurance companies make COVID-19 testing and vaccines free. The decision follows calls led by Pascrell, McKinley, and 50 members demanding HHS make all testing free to all Americans.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress in March and the CARES Act both included provisions ensuring that individuals can receive COVID-19 tests without out-of-pocket costs. However, changes by the Trump administration created confusion regarding coverage requirements for COVID-19 testing.

“The only way we will defeat this virus is through testing and vaccination – available to all and free of charge,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The misguided plans and outright greed from some insurers refusing to cover testing and vaccines has saddled families with big bills and needlessly dissuaded Americans from getting vaccinated, resulting in untold deaths. By making explicit that unscrupulous providers will face consequences, the Biden administration is taking an important step to cementing public confidence that is essential to defeating this virus.”

“One of the tools needed for safely reopening our society and getting people back to work is for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to be widely available,” said Rep. McKinley. “Cost should not be a barrier for anyone, penalizing people with out-of-pocket costs only discourages people from getting tested and receiving the vaccine. By HHS insisting that all insurance companies make COVID-19 testing and vaccines free, this will help in defeating the virus and returning to normal.”

In his letter to insurers and providers, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote: “I am reminding health care providers of their signed agreements to cover the administration of COVID-19 vaccines free-of-charge to patients, and group health plans and health insurers of their legal requirement to provide coverage of COVID-19 vaccinations and diagnostic testing without patients shouldering any cost…. We will remain vigilant in holding providers accountable for vaccinating the public without charging patients and holding issuers accountable for covering COVID-19 diagnostic testing without cost-sharing.”

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