17848 DOH Testing Lab

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Update March 17, 2020

Pennsylvania’s Medicaid and CHIP programs, WellSpan Health and UPMC Health Plan have all announced COVID-19 testing and treatment policies, and Medicare has posted information about its coverage.


Posted March 10, 2020

All major health insurers in the state have agreed to fully cover COVID-19 testing. However, that may not apply to people who work and have coverage through self-insured companies; they are encouraged to check with their employer.

Officials also noted that people with excepted benefit policies, short-term, limited duration health insurance coverage or health care sharing ministries "need to understand these plans can have significant limitations on coverage and may not provide the same level of access."


All 10 major health insurers in Pennsylvania have agreed to waive cost-sharing for "medically appropriate" COVID-19 testing, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced.

A news release called the decision "critical," saying until now coronavirus testing been done only by the CDC or state labs, which covered the cost of testing, but now commercial labs are starting to perform tests and will begin billing insurance as they would for any other diagnostic test.

Insurers proactively waiving testing costs "helps the commonwealth identify additional cases and gives us a better opportunity to increase our resources appropriately and better protect all Pennsylvanians," Wolf said. "No Pennsylvanian should forego testing for any reason, if deemed medically necessary, including fear of what it might cost.”

The Department of Health answers frequently asked questions about COVID-19 testing and insurance coverage here.

The insurers are:  

However, a subsequent release noted companies that self-insure are not within the department's regulatory powers, and may have different limitations on testing. About a quarter of Pennsylvania residents have coverage through self-insured businesses, which are generally big or mid-sized employers. 

Anyone with questions about their insurance policy is encouraged to contact the insurer or the state insurance department with questions; the department has a hotline at (877) 881-6388 and has posted Frequently Asked Questions on insurance coverage of the testing.

Officials also noted that people with excepted benefit policies, short-term, limited duration health insurance coverage or health care sharing ministries "need to understand these plans can have significant limitations on coverage and may not provide the same level of access."

What to Read Next