The Families First Response Act Makes COVID-19 Testing Free

A new bill from Congress includes provisions that increase Medicaid funding and offer coverage for COVID-19 testing without cost.[cite]What are the health coverage provisions in the House coronavirus bill?[/cite][cite]House passes sweeping COVID-19 relief bill.[/cite][cite]How Can Medicaid Enhance State Capacity to Respond to COVID-19?[/cite]

UDPATE: This article was first written when the bill (The Families First Response Act) had just passed the House, but the bill ended up passing the Senate and was then signed into law. The article has been updated to reflect the changes.

The The Families First Response Act basically gives everyone access to COVID-19 testing at no out-of-pocket cost by

  1. Guaranteeing that all forms of health insurance cover COVID-19 testing and related services without cost-sharing.
  2. Allowing state Medicaid programs to cover COVID-19 testing for people without coverage through an employer, the individual market, or a federal coverage program like Medicare at the expense of the Federal Government.

The Families First Response Act also generally allows states to incur less costs associated with Medicaid when it comes to increased spending over COVID-19.

FACT: COVID-19 testing currently costs about between $35 – $50 according to CMS data, although most people will be covered under the new law.

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