Regulation curbs costs for coronavirus treatment

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Steve Marcus

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak prepares for a news conference on the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Sawyer State Building Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Thu, Mar 5, 2020 (3:42 p.m.)

Hours after health officials confirmed the first presumed case of coronavirus in Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced an emergency regulation to ensure Nevadans can get medical services and prescriptions related to the disease at normal costs.

The regulation prohibits health insurers from levying out-of-pocket costs for a provider office, urgent care center or emergency room visit when the purpose is testing for coronavirus.

It also prevents insurers from charging patients for the test itself and requires insurers to provide coverage for any necessary prescription drugs, even those not covered by the plan.

The regulation also requires insurers to provide information on benefits and medical advice and treatment options through telehealth options.

“This preemptive emergency regulation should give Nevadans confidence to continue taking preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as seeking necessary medical services and prescriptions without fear of higher than normal costs,” Sisolak said in a statement. “Protecting Nevadans is my top priority, and adopting this emergency regulation is a critical piece of our broader plan to anticipate and prepare for the potential impacts of COVID-19,” Sisolak said.

The first person who has tested positive for coronavirus in Nevada is a man in his 50s who is being treated in isolation at a VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System facility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet confirmed the initial test.

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