Durbin, Duckworth, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Expand Free Coronavirus Testing to People on Private Insurance, on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Uninsured

Legislation would provide free diagnostic testing and related health care services for Americans receiving tests to confirm coronavirus infection

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR)—led a number of their Democratic Senate colleagues in introducing the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

The Free COVID-19 Testing Act would waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private health plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA, as well as for federal civilians, American Indians and Alaska Natives.  Private insurers would be barred from imposing limits like prior authorization for testing.  For uninsured individuals, this legislation would cover the cost of lab fees, and states would have the option and new incentives to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services through their Medicaid programs.

“In order to stem the spread of coronavirus infections, we need to immediately expand access to testing.  Cost should not be a barrier for this public health crisis,” Durbin said.  “I’m proud to introduce this legislation with my colleagues and encourage members on both sides of the aisle to support it.”

“Expanding access to free COVID-19 testing is a critically important step in helping control the spread of this pandemic,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be a supporter of this legislation that will help ensure all Americans can get the testing they need without fear of receiving a medical bill they can’t afford. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand the urgency of this issue and pass this legislation immediately.”

In addition to Durbin, Duckworth, Smith, Peters, Schumer, Murray, and Wyden, this legislation is also supported by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CC), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Full text of the bill is available here.