US vice president Mike Pence has addressed the concerns of many Americans over the potential costs of getting a coronavirus test. He said that the cost of the tests will be covered by all private insurance plans, and by Medicare and Medicaid.
Americans with health insurance will not have to worry about paying out of pocket to be tested for coronavirus as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has designated the coronavirus test as an “essential health benefit”, he said.
He added that around 1.5m test kits are currently making their way to state and university labs across the country that are authorised to carry out the coronavirus test.
The assurances by Mr Pence come amid concerns that many Americans who display COVID-19 symptoms may choose not to come forward and get tested for fear of the potential costs, potentially fuelling the spread of the disease.
Concerns were high after reports emerged of an American who tested positive for the coronavirus, and received an insurance claim of $3,270.
Emergency aid package
The US Congress has also approved $8.3bn in emergency aid to help counter the spread of the coronavirus.
The bipartisan package includes nearly $7.8bn for agencies dealing with the virus, like state and local health departments that have said that their resources are strained, even as they deal with early-stage outbreaks.
It also authorises $500m to encourage Medicare providers for telehealth services for the elderly at home.