Coronavirus News

HHS Providing $4.8 Billion from the American Rescue Plan to Reimburse Health Care Providers Who Test Uninsured Individuals for COVID-19

On May 25, 2021 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will dedicate $4.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to support the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program. Through the funding, the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program will reimburse health care providers for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19.

The HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program helps uninsured individuals receive COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccinations. The program reimburses health care providers at national Medicare rates. The reimbursement will be based on the incurred date of service.

A patient is eligible to receive services if they do not have health insurance, no matter their immigration status. Receiving testing, treatment, or vaccinations through the program will not affect a patient’s immigration status. Health care providers and HHS must not share information about testing, treatment, or vaccinations through the program to immigration agencies. Providers must ask for information such as a patient’s Social Security Number or a driver’s license/state ID number, but it is only to help them confirm that the patient does not have insurance. Even if the patient cannot supply a Social Security Number or government ID, they will receive care. HHS recommends that providers explicitly tell uninsured patients the above information.

Providers should tell patients that they will not be billed for COVID-19 services. Providers should bill HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program instead of the patient. Providers may not charge an office visit or fee if the patient is only receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. The factsheet can be found here.

To receive the reimbursement, health care providers should 1) enroll as a provider participant, 2) check patient eligibility, 3) submit patient information, 4) submit claims electronically, and 5) receive payment via direct deposit. Click here for full reimbursement information. Links to submit claims can be found here.