Thursday, November 19, 2020
Recent media reports and complaints to our office show that people often incur unexpected charges when getting a test for COVID-19. While Congress passed rules aimed to make COVID-19 testing free nationwide, consumers are sometimes charged for other services during their visit.
Here’s how to avoid a surprise charge while getting a COVID-19 test:
- Get tested at one of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service’s No-Cost Community Testing Events. NC DHHS is offering more than 120 free testing events across North Carolina in advance of Thanksgiving.
- If possible, get your test at a public testing site. Sometimes, private clinics or hospitals charge patients a “facility fee” that can amount to more money than the test itself.
- Ask your doctor if you’ll be charged for other services before your visit. Sometimes, health care providers administer and charge for tests for multiple illnesses along with a COVID-19 test.
- If you’re uninsured, ask your health care provider how they bill uninsured patients. The federal government has created a provider relief fund that offers reimbursement for providers for some COVID-19-related costs.
- If you get an unexpected charge, call our office. Our consumer protection specialists can help North Carolinians seek relief and dispute charges if necessary.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that we do so with accurate information and protect our personal information and money in the process. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your doctor. If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.