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HHS to Dedicate $4.8 Billion to COVID-19 Testing for the Uninsured

Student nurse Dario Gomez, center, disinfects a chair after administering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a patient at Providence Edwards Lifesciences vaccination site in Santa Ana, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

WASHINGTON – Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, announced that it is dedicating $4.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan to support the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program. This funding will allow the program to continue reimbursing health care providers for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19. As of May 19, 2021, the program has issued nearly $4 billion in testing reimbursements to providers.

“As we vaccinate the country, let’s continue taking the preventive measures necessary to keep the virus under control and prevent it from spreading. Testing remains critical and now it’s available at no cost to those who need it,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding will help ensure everyone has access to testing regardless of whether they have health insurance.”

There are approximately 29 million uninsured individuals living in the United States. While this administration has been focused on decreasing the uninsured rate, as evidenced by the more than 1 million people who have enrolled into quality health coverage through the Special Enrollment Period  much work remains. By ensuring programs like the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program remains adequately funded, this administration is removing cost impediments so anyone exposed to COVID-19 may seek appropriate testing and care.

The funding announced today is dedicated to COVID-19 testing. HRSA also helps uninsured individuals’ access COVID-19 treatment and vaccinations through the COVID-19 Uninsured Program.  The program reimburses providers at national Medicare rates for providing these services. As of May 19, 2021, the program has issued over $2.5 billion toward reimbursing providers for delivering COVID-19 treatment and over $85 million for vaccinating the uninsured.

“Focusing on the underserved and eliminating health access barriers for vulnerable communities is a core part of our mission,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “To truly return to normal after the pandemic, we must continue to test, treat and vaccinate everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status.”

Learn more about the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program here.

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