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VP Pence announces that health insurance companies will waive copays related to coronavirus testing
Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

VP Pence announces that health insurance companies will waive copays related to coronavirus testing

'We want people to get tested'

Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that multiple insurance companies have agreed to waive copays associated with coronavirus testing in an effort to encourage Americans to get tested for the new disease.

"I'm pleased to report, as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here, either today or before today, have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus testing and extend coverage for coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans," the vice president told President Donald Trump in front of news cameras at a White House meeting with insurance CEOs on Tuesday.

Pence added that per the president's instruction last week, "coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered" under Medicare and Medicaid. He added that the insurers had also agreed to cover telemedicine services "so that anyone, particularly among a vulnerable senior population, would not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor; they'll know that telemedicine is covered."

Pence emphasized at the meeting that "we want the American people to know that they are covered through private insurance; they are covered through Medicare and Medicaid."

According to CBS News' Weijia Jiang, the companies that have agreed to the details of the announcement include Anthem, Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Humana, Centene, AHIP, Express Scripts, Cigna Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS Health, and the Kaiser Foundation.

"We want people to get tested," Pence said at the meeting, adding that "over a million tests are out" and that "more than 4 million will go out this week" as the result of efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trump announced late last month that Pence would head up the administration's response to the outbreak of the new coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — saying at a press briefing that his vice president "has got a certain talent for this."

Globally, there were more than 116,000 confirmed cases of the virus on Tuesday and more than 4,100 deaths from it, according to information from Johns Hopkins University. The same numbers showed the United States with more than 760 confirmed cases and 27 deaths.

At a Monday evening press briefing at the White House, Pence assured Americans that the "the risk of contracting the coronavirus to the American public remains low, and the risk of serious disease among the American public also remains low."


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