BOSTON (AP) — The cost of testing and treatment for the new coronavirus will be covered by health insurers in Massachusetts.
Insurers will verify that eligible residents in the state have access to any necessary testing, counseling, treatment and vaccination related to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson wrote in his directive to insurers Friday.
The announcement means there will be no co-payments for services related to the medical response to the virus, and deductibles will not be applied to them, The Boston Globe reported.
A vaccine has not been developed but the directive will apply when one becomes available.
“Coronavirus may impose unique risks to our insurance market that Massachusetts has not faced for at least a generation,” Anderson said.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has flu-like symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC advises those who are mildly ill with the virus to stay home and avoid public areas to avoid spreading it.
State health officials announced the number of people in Massachusetts who have tested positive for the new virus jumped to 13 on Saturday, up from eight on Friday.
The state’s insurance division is also requiring insurers to provide dedicated help lines in an effort to answer questions about the virus so people won’t need to visit medical offices.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest insurer, issued a press release Friday saying it will operate around the clock, seven days a week with a live practitioner providing help with care and testing decisions.