DETROIT – As thousands of Metro Detroit residents continue to get tested for COVID, there’s renewed concern over insurance companies attempting to bill patients for tests that are supposed to be free.
Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is calling on the White House to step in and prevent the bills from being sent out in the first place.
She said she wants the full weight of the White House to be used in those situations. Including the Department of Justice. The tests are supposed to be covered by the CARES Act, but her office is still getting calls about people getting those bills. She said even members of her own family have received them.
“We got to make sure that this stays in place and that folks are not wordsmithing and trying to get around and then sending my resident bills,” Tlaib said.
In her letter, Tlaib calls on the head of the White House COVID Response team to create new policies to monitor how insurance companies bill or COVID tests deemed “not medically necessary,” work with providers to streamline testing and open the door to criminal charges if those looking for tests are charged.
“I hope that we’re contacting the insurance providers, that we’re putting on the letterhead, sending it to them, warning them that we see what they’re doing and they need to stop immediately,” Tlaib said.
Stories of bills have also sparked worries that may prevent people from getting tested, potentially furthering the spread of the virus.
“I don’t want any of my residents to think that you know insurance providers can do this to them. Then, all of a sudden, then people will hesitate to get tested because they can’t afford it,” Tlaib said.
One of the other things Tlaib asked for that the White House did do was create a toll-free number for COVID test to be mailed out for those who don’t have internet access. The number is 1-800-232-0233.
If you get a COVID test, it should be covered even if you don’t have insurance. If you get a bill, you need to call both the place you got your test and if you have one, your insurance company, to make sure they don’t keep billing you -- because you should not have to pay.