An Arm and a Leg

‘An Arm And A Leg’: If Insurer Bills You For COVID Testing, Talk — And Maybe Tweet — It Out

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires private insurers to pay for certain services related to coronavirus testing at no cost to the patient. But gaps in the protections expose patients to unexpected medical bills.
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Anna Davis Abel’s insurance company pledged to cover COVID-19 testing without cost sharing, but then left her to pay a big bill.

Davis Abel got help thanks to a viral tweet — and from a reporter who reached out to and prodded her insurance company. But her story exposes gaps in the protections Congress put in place to make coronavirus testing more affordable for consumers with health coverage.

In Episode 4, we tell that story, then dive into the generous, moving and complicated ways people responded to Davis Abel’s tweet. There is a happy ending, but even with everybody doing their absolute best, things got uncomfortable ― even painful ― for Davis Abel along the way.

Her story, which is also featured in the latest NPR-KHN “Bill of the Month” installment, gets to the heart of dealing with the cost of health care — especially in the world of COVID-19 and the internet.

Has anything weird happened with your bills related to coronavirus testing or treatment? Please tell us about it.

“SEASON-19” of “An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.

To keep in touch with “An Arm and a Leg,” subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. And if you’ve got stories to tell about the health care system, the producers would love to hear from you.

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Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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