Governor issues directive requiring health insurers to waive costs for coronavirus testing.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Emergency legislation requested by the Governor to deal with the coronavirus emergency passed the House Appropriations Committee last week. The measure would allow the state’s chief executive to take $50-million from the rainy day fund to deal with this emergency. It now heads to the full House of Delegates.
Frederick County Delegate Carol Krimm, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, says legislation passed unanimously. “When the Governor is requesting money for an emergency–and we all know there is an emergency–we’re just going to act quickly to respond,” she said.
Three Montgomery County residents tested positive for the coronavirus last week. The Governor then declared a state of emergency.
Prior to the vote, Delegate Krimm says the Committee heard from Secretary of the Budget David Brinkley, and a representative from the Maryland Department of Health. They both urged Marylanders to stay informed about the coronavirs emergency. “They wanted to make sure that people understood that they need to get information about the coronavirus from a reputable source,” she says.
One reputable source is the Maryland Department of Health. Its website is health.maryland.gov.
The State Senate approve the bill last week.
Also, Governor Larry Hogan directed all health insurance carriers tin Maryland to waive any costs associated with testing for the coronavirus. He says that includes co-pays, co-insurance an deductibles. “We’re also removing all prior authorization requirements by any health carrier for COVID-19 testing that are related to medical necessity,” he said during his news conference on Friday.
Insurance companies are also directed to waive any time requirements on prescription refills, which will make it easier for patients to obtain medications in advance of any quarantine. “It is critical that anyone who is experiencing symptoms and meet the criteria for testing is able to do so right away, without having any concern whatsoever about the costs associated with it,” says Governor Hogan.
During his Friday news conference, the Governor said the three patents who tested positive for the coronavirus contracted the disease while taking a cruise on the Nile River in Egypt. They are a couple in their 70’s, and a woman in her 50’s.
He also says one of those people who tested positive for COVID-19 attended an event at the Village at Rockville, a retirement community in Montgomery County. Governor Hogan says that person came into contact with between 70 and 100 people during the event which took placer on Friday, February 28th from 12:00 noon to 6:00 PM. Anyone who attended that event is urged to contact their doctor or other health care provider, get tested for the coronavirus.
By Kevin McManus