Washington orders insurance companies to waive copays, deductibles for coronavirus testing

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington’s insurance commissioner has issued an order requiring health insurers in the state to not charge copays or deductibles for people who require testing for the coronavirus.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler made the announcement at a Thursday news conference.

Authorities also say people who have to see an out of network provider would have that visit covered as if it was within their insurance plan. The order is effective until May 4.

According to the order:

Insurers also must:

  • Allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs.
    Suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19.

  • In addition, if an insurer does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing or treatment for COVID-19, it must allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.  

The order is effective immediately and applies to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term limited duration medical plans until May 4, 2020.

Authorities said Thursday there at least 70 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, up from 39 on Wednesday. Eleven people have died. One case has been reported in rural Grant Count in central Washington. The rest are in the Seattle area.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to meet Thursday with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and other state officials about the response to the virus during a visit to the state.

READ MORE: Washington now has 70 confirmed cases of coronavirus, no new deaths reported