By Josh Resnek
Free testing of all kinds for the COIVD-19 virus is running out.
Soon enough, only those with higher incomes will be able to afford constant testing to mitigate against the virus.
Thousands of Everett residents living under the poverty line will soon be hard pressed to pay for their own testing.
For those with pre-existing medical conditions, the ultimate result can likely be serious illness, the spread of the virus and more unnecessary deaths, according to a comprehensive article that appeared in the New York Times last weekend.
Funding to test and treat uninsured Americans is unavailable.
Some health care providers are telling uninsured they will have to pay for testing.
In the meantime, in China, where it is believed the virus began, the Chinese government is testing the entire city – which is an effort to test something like 15 million people because of an outbreak of the virus.
Locally, Massachusetts figures continue to decline significantly and vaccinations hover in the 5.6 million range out of a total population of about 6.3 million residents.
Quest Diagnostics, which operates one of the largest networks of testing sites and laboratories in the United States, last week began to notify clients that the reimbursement was no longer available, Kimberly B. Gorode, a spokesperson for the chain, said on Sunday.
Patients “are being told they can’t get it for free,” she said. Uninsured people will now have to pay $125 to be tested at Quest Diagnostics. Other testing services may charge up to $195.
Customers enrolled in a private insurance plan, or covered by Medicare or Medicaid, are not affected, she said.
Around 31.2 million Americans are uninsured, according to federal data in 2020. Uninsured people were more likely to be people of color or from low-income families.
On Wednesday, the federal Heath Resources and Services Administration stopped accepting claims for testing and treatment for uninsured patients. On April 6, the agency will stop reimbursing providers for vaccinating uninsured people.