News and Blog

Wednesday, 27 May 2020
TN pays for COVID testing
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This is something I was not aware of so I wanted to share it with you. Beginning in April the State of TN began paying 100% of the cost for COVID-19 testing for anyone wanting a test. The Federal Government required all group health insurance companies to cover COVID testing and treatment under their plans so I am not sure why the state is paying for any and all testing. 

This is of course a good thing for all of us to help control the spread through early detection. The state is paying a flat $100 to labs to preform the tests. I am not sure if this includes tests done in a doctors office or Emergency Room but it appears so. All the group insurance carriers we work with are also providing testing at 100% and they are also offering $0 copay telehealth visits for the time being. We work with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and United HealthCare. You can find more information about the BlueCross of TN program at www.bcbst.com. 

Here is the article I am referring to

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Posted on 05/27/2020 1:53 PM by Benefit Brokers, LLC
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Thursday, 7 May 2020
Cost to treat COVID-19
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This is of course a very challenging time in our city, state, country and across the world. We are hearing about all the testing and treatment for COVID-19 but there is not a lot of talk about the costs associated with this virus. Supposedly, the government and insurance companies are paying 100% of COVID 19 treatments but we have not been able to confirm that. Fortunately, we have not had very many of our group clients or their employees impacted at this point. 

This is the first real study of costs associated with the testing and treatment for COVID-19,  unfortunately it does not include Nashville, TN but I am sure the results would be very similar. Key finding are based on several factors: 

  • The severely of symptoms
  • Where care or treatment is received
  • The city and state treatment is received

Telehealth

Many individuals have access to telehealth through their employers or health plans. Co-pays for this service range from $0 to $100, though some insurance carriers have waived costs for telehealth visits. Individuals with mild symptoms may be able to have a video visit with a telehealth provider or call a nurse hotline at no cost to rule out the need for further testing. Most of these individuals will be told to self-isolate, rather than come in for an evaluation, incurring no further costs. If they do need further testing, they will likely be directed to a local primary care provider or urgent care center.

Primary Care

If someone with mild symptoms seeks an evaluation with a primary care provider in New York City, their out-of-pocket costs could range from $100 to $450 with an average cost of $235. In contrast, if a person seeks care at a primary care provider in New York City with more severe symptoms, their costs could range from $385 to $2805 with an average of $1220. Although the average costs for a primary care oice visit are highest in San Francisco, lab tests and x-rays are highest in Miami.

Urgent Care

If someone with mild to moderate symptoms seeks an evaluation at an urgent care center in New York City their out-of-pocket costs could range from $250 to $514 with an average of $352. However, if a person seeks care at an urgent care center in New York City with more severe symptoms, their costs could range from $535 to $2870 with an average of $1336. Miami and San Francisco have the highest urgent care costs among the included cities.

Emergency Room

If someone with mild symptoms seeks an evaluation at an emergency room in New York City, their out-of-pocket costs could range from $506 to $4985 (average $2321). If a person seeks care at an emergency room in New York City with more severe symptoms, their costs could range from $791 to $7341 (average $3305). The average out-of-pocket costs for a visit to an ER for someone with moderate symptoms ranges from $1793 in Seattle to $3997 in Miami.

This is not an attempt to keep anyone from seeking care or treatment if they feel sick, I really wanted to let you see the disparity of costs between providers for the very same procedures. 

View the full report here

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Posted on 05/07/2020 9:22 AM by David Moore
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