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Bill would mandate insurance coverage for COVID-19

Rep. Ullman in a conversation with Rep. Krueger on the house floor.

While not many Warren County residents have been hit by costs for COVID-19 testing or therapies, Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, is introducing legislation to keep people from paying out-of-pocket for for COVID care.

Ullman recently introduced House Bill 2959, which would mandate insurance coverage for COVID-19-related medical treatment.

“Every Pennsylvanian has a right to expect protections from COVID-19,” Ullman said. “These protections should include safeguarding people from debilitating financial costs as a result of medical interventions for COVID-19.”

“The fear of incurring medical debt should not be a factor that inhibits individuals from seeking necessary life-preserving care.”

If passed, the legislation would enable Pennsylvanians to seek care for COVID-19 without having the expectation for any out-of-pocket payments.

The bill would require any health insurance policy or government program that is offered, renewed or issued in Pennsylvania to include coverage for and waive cost-sharing requirements related to, medically necessary COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and prevention, including the cost of a vaccine when one is available. The requirement would end one year after the state’s COVID-19 disaster emergency ends.

“The pandemic has been devastating on families economically,” Ullman said. “We don’t want people refusing hospital care because they are afraid of burdening their families with crippling medical debt and so risk their lives as well as potentially spread the virus to others in their family and the community. When a vaccine for COVID-19 is rolled out, we want everyone to be vaccinated without having to worry whether they can afford it.”

Ullman’s legislation is the first in Pennsylvania to be introduced regarding insurance coverage requirements for COVID-19 that are directly related to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatments.

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