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Pence Announces Insurance Companies Agreed to Waive Co-Pays for Coronavirus Testing

Vice President Mike Pence speaks following a coronavirus task force meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, February 27, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that a number of insurance companies have agreed to waive co-pays for coronavirus tests as part of the Trump administration’s “whole of America” approach to combat the epidemic.

Pence made the remarks alongside President Trump at a meeting with executives of major health insurance companies, adding that the administration has also spoken with pharmaceutical leaders, those who run nursing homes, commercial labs, and airlines about addressing the epidemic.

“All the insurance companies here either today or before today have agreed to waive all co-pays on coronavirus testing and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans,” Pence said.

“We’re bringing all of the businesses of the country to bear to protect the health of the American people,” the vice president said.

Telemedicine will also be covered so that seniors, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, will “not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor” and risk infection. Medicare and Medicaid will cover coronavirus testing and treatment as well.

“We want people to get tested,” Pence said, adding that over a million coronavirus tests are out now and more than four million more will go out this week.

The major health insurance companies have also promised no “surprise billing” and will also work with the administration to convey information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, Pence said.

“While the risk to the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low, we want a full partnership with industry and give the American people all the information they need to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus,” Pence said. “And particularly, these companies are going to help us get information to seniors with underlying health conditions who really represent the most vulnerable populations to serious outcomes.”

The U.S. currently has over 700 people infected with the coronavirus, a respiratory illness that originated in China, and 26 people have died. The virus has infected over 113,000 people globally and killed over 4,000.

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