HHS Dedicates $4.8B to COVID-19 Testing Reimbursement for Uninsured Individuals
$4.8B from the American Rescue Plan will go to reimbursing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 testing through the HSRA COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
By: Cathryn Hilliard
May 28, 2021 – HHS announced that it will be dedicating $4.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan to COVID-19 testing reimbursement for the uninsured through the COVID-19 Uninsured Program. The funds are dedicated under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The funds will allow the HRSA program to continue reimbursing providers for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19. As of May 19, 2021, the program has reimbursed providers almost $4 billion for COVID-19 testing.
There are an estimated 29 million uninsured individuals in the United States. The Biden Administration in conjunction with HSS has been working to reduce that number. Through this program, HHS hopes to further remove cost impediments to anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 that is seeking testing and care.
HSS Secretary Xavier Becerra touted the funds by stating in the May 25th press release, “This funding will help ensure everyone has access to testing regardless of whether they have health insurance.”
COVID-19 Uninsured Program
While the funds announced in the recent HHS press release are dedicated to COVID-19 testing, the COIVID-19 Uninsured Program also assists with other healthcare costs for the uninsured population.
HRSA helps uninsured individuals access COVID-19 treatment and vaccinations through their COVID-19 Uninsured Program. Under the program, health care providers that have provided COVID-19 treatment for uninsured individuals on or after February 4, 2020, can request claims reimbursement. Providers can also submit claims reimbursement requests for COVID-19 vaccination administration as well.
The program reimburses providers at national Medicare rates for the respective services.
To participate, providers must have confirmed that the patient is uninsured, accept the defined program reimbursement payment in full, and agree not to balance bill the patient. They must also agree to program terms and conditions.
To make the process easier, there is an online HRSA Program Portal for providers.
Other HRSA Initiatives
The HRSA also oversees the HRSA COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund. This is available to reimburse providers for COVID-19 vaccination administration to underinsured individuals that do not have coverage for the service.
“Focusing on the underserved and eliminating health access barriers for vulnerable communities is a core part of our mission,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “To truly return to normal after the pandemic, we must continue to test, treat and vaccinate everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status.”
For reimbursement data on providers participating in the COVID-19 Uninsured Program, click here.
For more information on the program, click here.
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