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COVID-19

For America’s uninsured, COVID-19 will present extra challenges

Jasmine Garsd Mar 4, 2020
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A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus on Feb. 28, 2020 in Nutley, N.J. Kena Betancur/Getty Images
COVID-19

For America’s uninsured, COVID-19 will present extra challenges

Jasmine Garsd Mar 4, 2020
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus on Feb. 28, 2020 in Nutley, N.J. Kena Betancur/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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There are nearly 30 million Americans without health insurance. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is considering using a national disaster program to help them pay for COVID-19 treatment.

The CDC doesn’t charge for its coronavirus tests, but getting that test requires a doctor’s visit or maybe an emergency room stay. Without insurance, the bill could be thousands of dollars.

“For people who are uninsured, knowing that they may face thousands of dollars worth of medical costs can be a deterrent to getting care,” said Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

And if people who have symptoms avoid getting tests because it’s too expensive, experts say that could make it harder to contain the disease — especially because of who tends to be uninsured. Sabrina Corlette, the co-director of Georgetown’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, said that tends to be people who take care of children and the elderly, clean hotels and serve food.

And those are exactly the people that Corlette says should be a priority for testing.

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