Health Insurance

Health Insurance and Coronavirus: An FAQ

Health Insurance and Coronavirus: An FAQ

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More information will be added and updated since this is a developing story.

The coronavirus outbreak has spread throughout the U.S. and is currently impacting our economy as well as our health-care system negatively. With all this uncertainty, Congress has been able to pass the CARES Act providing needed relief and clarity in regard to our financial institutions and health insurance.

Question: Will my health insurance cover coronavirus?

Answer: Under the CARES Act, a group health plan and any health insurer offering group or individual coverage will provide coverage and will not impose any cost sharing — deductibles, copayments or coinsurance — requirements for items and services needed to combat COVID-19.

In addition, the CARES Act specifies that any further preventative services for coronavirus are required to be offered and covered by providers of group or individual health insurance policies. This can include items, services and immunizations that are intended for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Many insurers are also providing input on whether or not they will provide coverage. Most recently, Cigna and Humana are waiving any out-of-pocket related to hospitalization or care needed for coronavirus. This grace period for cost sharing will extend till May 31st according to the insurers.

Question: If I need health insurance, where can I purchase coverage?

Answer:If you are currently uninsured, there is still a possibility that you can purchase health insurance that will provide coverage for coronavirus. Many states have opened up special enrollment periods (SEPs) that allow uninsured individuals the ability to access the state marketplace where they can purchase an individual health insurance policy.

Below is a list of state-run exchanges that currently have emergency special enrollment periods:

StateApril 1 effective dateMay 1 effective dateJune 1 effective date
CaliforniaMarch 31, 2020April 30, 2020May 31, 2020
ColoradoApril 3, 2020April 30, 2020
ConnecticutApril 2, 2020April 17, 2020
MarylandApril 15, 2020May 15, 2020June 15, 2020
MassachusettsMarch 23, 2020April 25, 2020
MinnesotaApril 21, 2020
NevadaApril 1, 2020April 15, 2020
New YorkApril 15, 2020May 15, 2020
Rhode IslandMarch 31, 2020April 15, 2020
WashingtonApril 8, 2020
Washington D.C.March 31, 2020April 30, 2020May 31, 2020
VermontApril 17, 2020April 17, 2020

Question: What can I do if I am laid off from my job?

Answer: If you were laid off from your job, then we would suggest reaching out to your previous employer and see if they are continuing your health insurance benefits. Many employers such as Macy's and Gap have let employees go but continue to support them through job-base health plans.

If your employer is not offering benefits anymore then you may no longer have health insurance coverage. In this case, you will gain access to a special enrollment period (SEP) during which you would be able to purchase an individual health insurance plan. Your state marketplace can be found through the HealthCare.gov website. Here you can see if you qualify for the enrollment period and then select the plan that you wish to purchase.

What is the right type of health insurance to purchase?

Answer: Finding health insurance that offers full coverage is the best health insurance policy that you can purchase. This is insurance that will provide coverage for the 10 essential health benefits, which include:

  • Outpatient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance abuse care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventative and wellness services
  • Pediatric services

There are some health insurance policies, such as short-term health insurance, which may not provide coverage for some of these areas. However, they will often have a significantly cheaper monthly premium when compared to an individual health plan, for example. Therefore, if you are considering a short-term health policy, you should carefully review the policy details and confirm exactly what will and will not be covered.

A good policy to consider will be Silver health insurance plans since these have modest premiums and average deductibles. However, there are cheaper plans in terms of monthly premium available such as Catastrophic or Bronze coverage. These plans will typically have a larger deductible making them more expensive if you use your health insurance often.

Below we have provided a list of the cheapest health insurance policies in each state for the Silver metal tier.

StateCheapest Silver planMonthly cost for a 40-year-old
AlabamaBlue Cross Select Silver$490.91
AlaskaModa Pioneer Silver 4500$683.00
ArizonaSilver 1$324.51
ArkansasAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$357.67
CaliforniaSilver 70 CommunityCare HMO$327.14
ColoradoKP Select Co Silver 4000/30/HSA$311.51
ConnecticutChoice Silver Alternative POS$398.10
DelawareHealth Savings Embedded Blue EPO Silver 3950 HSA$521.49
FloridaBlueSelect Silver 1443$404.69
GeorgiaAmbetter Balanced Care 11 (2020)$367.00
HawaiiKP HI Silver 4000/45$460.45
IowaInspire by Medica Silver Copay$559.43
IdahoSelect Silver 3500$478.67
IllinoisAmbetter Balanced Care 11 (2020)$344.26
IndianaAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$272.31
KansasAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$418.06
KentuckyAnthem Silver Pathway X Transition HMO 6700$397.55
LouisianaBlue Connect 80/60 $3,400 (S)$417.02
MassachusettsTufts Health Direct Silver 2000 II$311.93
MarylandKP MD Silver 6000/35/Dental$404.17
MaineMaines Choice HMO Silver 6200$450.34
MichiganMeridian Healthy Silver$306.99
MinnesotaPeak Individual $3,000 HSA Silver$327.22
MissouriAmbetter Balanced Care 11 (2020)$405.20
MississippiAmbetter Balanced Care 11 (2020)$398.97
MontanaCo-op Plus Silver$276.58
North CarolinaSilver 4$405.41
North DakotaSanford TRUE $4,750$320.45
NebraskaMedica with CHI Health Silver Copay$554.42
New HampshireAmbetter Balanced Care 11 (2020)$390.45
New JerseyIHC Silver EPO AmeriHealth Advantage $25/$50$378.52
New MexicoConstant Care Silver 1$307.60
NevadaAmbetter Balanced Care 4$364.70
New YorkIND Destination 65, Silver, NS, INN, Dep25$480.46
OhioAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$321.00
OklahomaSilver 4$492.06
OregonConnect 4500 Silver$397.00
PennsylvaniaTogether Blue EPO Silver 3950 HSA$329.00
Rhode IslandNeighborhood PLUS$299.51
South CarolinaAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$372.09
South DakotaAvera Preferred 2750$463.10
TennesseeAmbetter Balanced Care 12 (2020)$456.40
TexasAmbetter Balanced Care 5 (2020)$337.37
UtahCigna Connect 1900$449.46
VirginiaOptimaFit Silver 6600 30% Select CH M$460.29
Vermont[MVP VT Plus] Silver 1$474.08
WashingtonAmbetter Balanced Care 4$343.14
WisconsinDean Focus Network Silver HSA-E 4000X$396.21
West VirginiaCareSource Marketplace Low Premium Silver$471.15
WyomingBlueSelect Silver Balance$806.05

Question: Who can I contact if I need to be tested for COVID-19?

Answer: If you think you need to be tested for coronavirus, then you should begin by reaching out to your doctor. If you currently do not have a primary care physician (PCP) then we suggest reach out to your health insurance company to get more information.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend going immediately to the emergency room, hospital or doctor's office, since you may spread the disease further.

Instead, listen to the instructions of your health-care provider, who will confirm if your symptoms warrant being tested and then tell you to visit a testing center in your state. Below is a list of testing centers in each U.S. state.

Note that these are only some of the many test facilities in your state. For complete lists and additional information regarding testing, we recommend visiting your state's government health website. Furthermore, you can also visit the on_current="true" url="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html"CDC website, where you can receive testing guidance.

StateTesting center locations
Alabama
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham Testing Center
  • Alabama Department of Public Health
  • Assurance Scientific Labs
  • Ross Bridge Medical Center
Alaska
  • Anchorage Testing Center
Arizona
  • Banner Health (Phoenix and Tucson)
  • Sonora Quest Laboratories
Arkansas
  • Washington Regional Center
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences HealthNow
  • Mercy Drive Thru Testing Center in Rogers
California
  • San Francisco County Lab
  • Los Angeles County Lab
  • Sacramento County Lab
  • Shasta County Lab
  • San Diego County Lab
Colorado
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Lab
  • Denver Hospitals
Connecticut
  • Bridgeport Hospital
  • Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington
  • Hartford Hospital
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital
  • Greenwich Hospital
Delaware
  • Saint Francis Healthcare
  • Beebe Healthcare
  • ChristianaCare: Newark and Wilmington
Florida
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
  • Community Health of South Florida Doris Ison Health Center
  • Larkin Community Hospital
  • Broward Health
  • Northwood Centre
Georgia
  • The Georgia Department of Public Health
  • MercyMed of Columbus Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Valdosta Drive-Thru Testing Center
Hawaii
  • Windward Urgent Care
  • Queen’s Medical Center (Punchbowl and West Oahu)
  • ‍Molokai General Hospital
  • Hawaii Pacific Health facilities
  • Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital
Idaho
  • Saint Alphonsus Health System Meridian Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • St. Luke’s Treasure Valley Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Saltzer Health Nampa
Illinois
  • Illinois Department of Public Health, Harwood Heights Community Testing Site
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Lanvin Family Pavilion
  • University of Chicago Medical Center
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem
  • Edward-Elmhurst Health Corporate Headquarters Lot
Indiana
  • Indiana University Health
  • Indianapolis VA Medical Center
  • The Floyd County Health Department Lot
Iowa
  • Iowa Clinic Mobile Testing Center (West Des Moines)
  • MercyOne Testing Site at North Iowa Event Center
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
Kansas
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
  • Urgent Care Centers
Kentucky
  • Integrity Extended Healthcare Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
Louisiana
  • University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena Parking Lot
  • Mahalia Jackson Theater Parking Lot
  • Alario Center - Westbank
Maine
  • Primary Healthcare Provider
  • Urgent Care Centers
  • Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville
  • MaineGeneral Augusta Drive-Thru Testing Center
Maryland
  • Maryland Department of Health Laboratory​
  • LifeBridge Health
  • Chesapeake ERgent Care
  • AllCare of Ellicott City
Massachusetts
  • Somerville Hospital Lot Testing Center
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital Worcester
  • UMass Memorial Medical Center
  • Cape Cod Hospital Drive-Thru Testing Center
Michigan
  • Primary Healthcare Provider
  • Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak
  • Spectrum Health in West Michigan
Minnesota
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic
Mississippi
  • The University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • St. Dominic's Family Medicine Scheduling Center
  • MEA Primary Care Plus Clinic
  • Central Mississippi Medical Center
Missouri
  • Capital Region Medical Center
  • Mercy Hospital St. Louis
  • Putnam County Memorial Hospital
  • University Hospital (MUHC)
Montana
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
  • County Health Departments
Nebraska
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Immediate Care Clinics
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
Nevada
  • Primary Healthcare Providers
  • Urgent Care Centers
New Hampshire
  • Manchester Public Health Department
  • Catholic Medical Center
  • Elliot Hospital
New Jersey
  • PNC Bank Arts Center in Monmouth County
  • Bergen County Testing Center
  • Kean University Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus
New Mexico
  • Memorial Medical Center Las Cruces
  • Urgent Care Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Presbyterian Espanola Hospital
New York
  • New Rochelle Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Staten Island Drive-Thru Testing Center
  • Local Health Departments
  • Government Public Health Laboratories
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital
North Carolina
  • NC State Laboratory of Public Health
  • UNC Health Drive-Thru Clinic
  • Novant Drive-Thru Clinic
  • Local Health Departments
North Dakota
  • Coal Country Community Health Center
  • Northland Health Centers
  • Family Healthcare
  • Spectra Health
Ohio
  • UH Landerbrook Health Center
  • Primary Healthcare Provider
  • Quest Diagnostics Ohio
  • LabCorp Ohio
Oklahoma
  • Primary Healthcare Provider
  • Local Emergency Rooms
Oregon
  • The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory
  • LabCorp Oregon
  • Quest Diagnostics Oregon
Pennsylvania
  • Jefferson Health
  • Tower Health
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Rhode Island
  • Care New England
  • Women & Infants Hospital
  • Kent Hospital
South Carolina
  • Public Health Laboratory
  • Colonial HealthCare
South Dakota
  • Horizon Health Care
  • Rural Health Care
  • Community Health Center of Black Hills
  • Falls Community Health
Tennessee
  • John Hunt Park
  • Huntsville Hospital
  • Vanderbilt Primary Care
Texas
  • Parkland Health & Hospital System
  • Dallas County Public Lab
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Catalyst Health Network
Utah
  • University of Utah Health
  • ARUP Laboratories
Vermont
  • University of Vermont
  • Central Vermont Medical Center
  • Porter Medical Center
Virginia
  • Virginia Department of Health
  • The University of Virginia
Washington
  • University of Washington Virology Lab
  • LabCorp
  • Quest
West Virginia
  • West Virginia University of Medicine
  • County Health Departments
Wisconsin
  • Madison State Lab
  • Milwaukee Health Department
Wyoming
  • Wyoming Public Health Laboratory
  • CDC Labs
Sterling Price

Sterling Price is a research analyst at ValuePenguin specializing in health and life insurance. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting and has previous experience as a licensed life insurance representative.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.