Legislature passes bill to cover COVID testing and diagnosis costs for uninsured

The Legislature passed a series of policy proposals this week to provide more relief to Minnesotans during the pandemic. One of these provisions aligned state statute with recent federal changes to provide Medical Assistance (MA) coverage for any COVID testing and the related office visit for uninsured individuals.  

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act permits state Medicaid programs to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing and any associated visit to uninsured residents through a new eligibility group. Senate DFLers know that simply covering the cost of testing is not enough; we must work to ensure those people who test positive have access to health coverage so they can obtain any necessary treatments or services that advance public health goals of preventing further spread of the disease. 

Residents who are not eligible for health insurance, like undocumented immigrants, are uniquely vulnerable during the pandemic and have few options for safety net services if they get sick. These populations are disproportionally employed in industries like health care, agriculture, and other high-risk jobs deemed essential to keep society running while others self-isolate.

Many undocumented residents might avoid seeking medical care out of fear that it could jeopardize their pathway to citizenship, though the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services has stated that seeking necessary medical treatment due to COVID-19 symptoms will not negatively impact future public charge analysis. While, the state’s health plans have already agreed to waive cost-sharing charges for in-network hospitalizations for Minnesotans who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, uninsured residents are left with few options.

This virus does not discriminate, and we must do all we can to slow the spread to keep everyone safe. Senate DFLers are committed to making sure that everyone has access to the care they need, regardless of citizenship status, and are hopeful that Republicans in the House and Senate will work on an agreement to protect Minnesotans.