• 86°

MainStreet rolls out free tests for uninsured

MainStreet Family Care announced Tuesday that its clinics, as well as its pediatric operation, KidsStreet Urgent Care, will be taking part in the U.S. Department of Health Human Services (HHS) Uninsured Patient Program, which will reimburse healthcare providers for providing no-cost testing to uninsured patients.

Parts of the program were included in both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, making it possible for healthcare providers to request reimbursements through the COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal, which will roughly pay out at Medicare rates.

“[U.S. President Donald Trump] has promised to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment for uninsured individuals and today HHS is launching the tools needed to do that,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in an April press release when the portal was launched. “Congress appropriated funding for COVID-19 testing for the uninsured and also appropriated funding for a general fund to support providers affected by COVID-19. The president and HHS made the bold decision to ensure that some of this money is specifically devoted to covering care for the uninsured, going to providers at the frontlines of the pandemic response. For now, the program means that patients who enter one of MainStreet’s clinics, including the one in Selma, will be able to receive a viral swab test at no cost.

Currently, the program only extends to the viral swab test, meaning that patients interested in getting a COVID-19 antibody test will still be billed $100 by LabCorp, though the visit and the blood draw would be covered.

In order to be eligible for the program, MainStreet will have to verify that the patient is not covered by any health insurance, including employer-sponsored, Medicaid or Medicare.

When patients arrive at MainStreet for COVID-19 testing, they will be required to inform the front desk worker of the reason for the visit and inform them of the lack of health insurance coverage.

Patients will be asked to provide a credit card to keep on file in case the program, or elements of it, are shuttered by the government, in which case patients would be charged $60 for the visit – an informational sheet on MainStreet’s website states that patients won’t be able to receive the free testing if they do not put a credit card on file.

Representatives from MainStreet Family Care briefly discussed the new initiative during the weekly Selma-Dallas County Coronavirus Community Coalition telephone town hall Tuesday, as did Rural Health Medical Program (RHMP) CEO Keshee Dozier-Smith, who announced that her organization would be taking part in the program as well.