Gov. Newsom and Commissioner Lara Waive Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Testing

As Gov. Gavin Newsom announced emergency steps to respond to the spread of COVID-19, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara joined him in directing health insurance companies to waive costs for screening and testing of the disease to protect the public from the growing threat.
The Department of Insurance has issued a bulletin to health insurance companies to encourage the public to obtain medical help if they become exposed to the illness.
The actions announced today by both the Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Health Care — the chief regulators of California’s commercial health coverage — include: 
  • Immediately eliminating cost-sharing, including but not limited to copays, deductibles, and coinsurance, for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 and associated hospital, emergency department, urgent care, and provider office visits where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19
  • Educating providers and the public that cost-sharing is waived for medically necessary COVID-19 screening and testing, and for the associated office, urgent care or ER visits for such screening or testing 
  • Reminding plans that California law requires emergency care without prior authorization, whether it is at an in-network or out-of-network hospital
  • Protecting policyholders from unlawful “balance bills” from providers related to the testing of COVID-19 
  • Ensuring adequate provider networks to handle an increase in healthcare services, as more COVID-19 cases develop in California
Consumers with concerns or complaints about accessing care for COVID-19 under their health insurance policy may also contact the department’s Consumer Hotline at (800) 927-4357 or visit

Commissioner Lara and the Department of Insurance will continue to monitor the situation closely and take further actions as appropriate to ensure California’s consumers have timely access to necessary screening, testing and care.
If you have any questions, please contact your Warner Pacific Sales Consultant at (800) 801-2300.
Source: California Department of Insurance