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What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Testing

Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 10:05:48-04

TULSA, Okla. — The state of Oklahoma is now testing 10 people for COVID-19, or the coronavirus.

The spread of the virus has left many with questions, including how does the test work and will you have to pay for it?

A patient has to meet certain criteria for their doctor to recommend getting the test done. It’s a fairly easy test on the patient.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said testing on a patient consists of getting a nasal or oral swab. It is then sent to a lab in Oklahoma City. State Commissioner of Health Gary Cox said they can do up to 300 tests a day and have results in 6 to 8 hours.

But many wonder — who will pay for the test? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing free tests at public labs. However, your insurance may require a co-pay for your doctor's visit. Private labs are also starting to be able to test.

Health insurance companies across the nation are working to cover costs for patients.

Aetna said it will waive co-pays for diagnostic testing.

BlueCross and BlueShield said it will not require preauthorization and will not apply co-pays or deductibles for testing.

UnitedHealthcare said it will waive co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles for testing.

Even with the growing concern over coronavirus, state epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed told 2 Works for You on Friday that 80 percent of people who get the virus have mild symptoms that last for several days. Those symptoms include fever, cough, body aches, shortness of breath and possibly a sore throat

“Those individuals at greater risk are going to include elderly populations," Burnsed said. "So, 60 years of age and older and people with underlying medical conditions increase their risk of illnesses, especially if those affect their heart, their lungs, or their general immune system, that’s going to put them at greater risk of severe illness.”

CommunityCare Health did not have any information about coronavirus coverage on their website. A 24-hour hotline refers patients with virus questions to the CDC website.

You can find information on other health insurance companies coronavirus coverage here.

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