Without CARES Act, COVID-19 tests for uninsured is threatened

CARES Act ending, threat to testing uninsured

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It might be harder for you to get a COVID-19 test once the CARES Act expires at the end of the year.

Right now, anyone can get a test whether they have insurance or not.

But that could end without more money from the federal government.

At Starmed’s testing site at the Old Eastland Mall on Wednesday there were two dozen cars lined up, waiting for a COVID-19 test. Part of Starmed’s advertising campaign to get people tested includes accepting patients without insurance, or people who are underinsured.

Starmed and other companies have a contract with the state of North Carolina that reimburses them for the cost of testing the uninsured.

“Whether you have insurance or not you can still get COVID,” North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams said.

North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams told WBTV she’s very concerned about people who don’t have insurance being able to access testing.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services tells WBTV 176,574 people have had some or all of the cost of testing covered because of coronavirus relief funds.

$17.8 million has been disbursed to companies like Starmed for testing and by the end of the year the state expects to spend more than $46 million on testing activities.

That funding has come from coronavirus relief funds, which is currently set to expire at the end of the month.

“We have to make sure that people are tested and that those organizations and institutions that have been helping to do that they have to continue to run their business so clearly they have to be reimbursed and paid as well,” Congresswoman Adam said.

During a recent briefing on COVID-19, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said she’s worried that when the CARES Act ends the ability for testing uninsured patients end with it.

“Most of these folks that are doing a lot of the extra testing for us are businesses you know i don’t think they’re going to continue to do free testing,” Harris said.

Right now, in Congress, there’s a bipartisan bill that would give states $16 billion for healthcare, including testing activities. Congresswoman Adams said she is hopeful a bill will pass… otherwise hundreds-of-thousands of uninsured would be left unable to easily get a test.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.