Utah Medicaid to cover COVID-19 tests for uninsured patients

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune file photo ) Teams test for COVID-19 and perform blood draws to test for coronavirus antibodies in Park City on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, as part of the Utah HERO (Health & Economic Recovery Outreach) program. The massive undertaking will begin with randomized testing of 10,000 Utahns across four counties. The data gathered will inform decision-makers in the state as they work to help keep residents safe and get people back to work.

Utah Medicaid will now cover COVID-19 tests for uninsured Utahns, state health officials announced on Monday.

Coverage begins June 1 and will continue through the public health emergency. Testing for active infections as well as antibodies will be covered, as well as any further diagnostic services such as X-rays.

Patients must be uninsured and meet citizenship and Utah residency requirements to receive the newly offered coverage, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Health.

Utahns may apply online at medicaid.utah.gov/covid-19-uninsured-testing-coverage/, and a UDOH employee will determine eligibility. Patients will be notified of the state’s decision within two to three business days, and then they will receive Medicaid cards. The application doubles as an application for full coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but that eligibility review may take up to 30 days.

Prior to the new Medicaid coverage for coronavirus tests, health care providers that provided tests to uninsured patients have been able to seek reimbursement through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“However, HRSA is the payer of last resort and is subject to available funding,” the news release states. “Utah’s new Medicaid reimbursement program, now available through the end of the public health emergency period for testing and testing related services, offers enhanced funding and is not restricted by a finite federal budget.”