Insurance bills from COVID-19 tests shock testers, labs

GS Labs employee
GS Labs employee
Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 4:20 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Many people getting COVID-19 tests are receiving a shock in the mail, but it has nothing to do with the results.

Thousands want to know if they’re positive for COVID-19 but the owner of GS Labs says some insurance coverage notices give clients a negative impression about test billing.

Gabe Sullivan with GS Labs said, “Insurance companies are clearly stating the providers may bill the patient. Under the CARES Act, we cannot do that and we’re not going to bill for COVID testing.”

Three clients who declined to go on camera sent medical insurance statements. They show lab bills for COVID-19 testing of $1,500; $1,600; and $2,000.

These bills make it look like a lot of money is being made by insurance.

“We’re not making a lot of money because the bills are not being paid by the insurance companies right now and they’re paying at discounted rates,” said Sullivan.

One insurance company didn’t pay much and warned the client that the provider of the test may bill you the amount denied coverage.

An estimated 50,000 people tested here, and many other sites will be receiving this notice that despite what their insurance statement indicates, they will not be billed hundreds or even thousands of dollars by GS Labs.

GS Labs overhead includes payroll for 700 staff, protective gear software, test equipment, and rentals for either trailers or building test sites.

“And we did not receive any federal grants, we did not receive any free money parse, everything we do is self-funded,” said Gabe.

Before getting COVID test results clients using GS Labs are told one outcome for sure.

“We will not be sending out patient bills.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska tells us they are working with providers on coding to ensure reasonable rates based on services provided. That will also determine if any adjustments are appropriate.

As for what patients pay, GS Labs had been charging $49 per test. That has been reduced to just $5 since the first of the year.

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