Insurers will cover virus tests, but check if costs apply

FILE - This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC's laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) - A day after Vice President Mike Pence assured Americans that lab tests for coronavirus would be covered by private and government health insurance, that promise appears to be less than airtight.

The bottom line: Medicare, Medicaid, and "Obamacare" insurance plans will cover the tests, officials said Thursday. Major insurers also said they will cover such tests. But people with employer-provided insurance should check with their plan because copays and deductibles may apply. State health departments will test for free.

"It's a common type of test, just like you get a swab for strep throat," Seema Verma, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I think private insurance companies, it does depend on coverage. But like I said, this is something that is commonly covered."