Tahoe Forest Health System Waives Out-of-Pocket Costs for Screening, Testing, and in Most Cases, Treatment of COVID-19

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The cost of healthcare during the current pandemic is a critical issue for many people, including worry about out-of-pocket costs for those who seek care and treatment for COVID-19. Tahoe Forest Health System is waiving out-of-pocket costs for screening and testing, and in most cases, the treatment of those with COVID-19 illness, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, 2020.  

Community members may be reluctant to seek care due to concerns about health care costs, and those with private insurance may face fees in the form of deductibles, copayments or coinsurance, including for services outside of their network.

Every insurance situation is different, and the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for many residents of our community.  Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS) has taken actions to help manage the affordability challenges that can arise from a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 testing and treatment, particularly if it is perceived as a barrier to obtaining health care.

“We encourage community members to call us about any concern related to billing or charges for testing, screening and treatment of COVID-19” said Harry Weis, President and CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System. “The billing requirements under the pandemic are completely new, and we want to offer as much assistance as possible to our community so we can work together on solutions, especially for those with COVID illness that may be uninsured or concerned about fees. Many may qualify for government resources, and we want to help with that” he said.

While costs will vary based on deductibles and coverage of individual insurance plans, TFHS will not bill patients for out-of-pocket expenses that are incurred for screening and testing, and in most cases, for the treatment of a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.

Treatment for COVID-19 is covered under most health insurance plans and Medicare.  However, patients should review their plan or contact their insurance company with questions about cost-sharing.  Medicare and some insurance plans may still have cost sharing requirements in place.  If this creates a financial hardship, please be sure to contact TFHS’s Financial Customer Service office to discuss your situation.

In addition, independent contractors of the hospital such as radiologists, ER physicians, anesthesiologists, pathologists, ambulance transportation and durable medical equipment may bill patients separately as well.

Community members are encouraged to contact TFHS’s Financial Customer Service office to discuss their situation and options.

TFHS’s Financial Customer Service Program was designed to help the community understand insurance benefits, answer questions about billing, and estimate costs of medical procedures in advance of service.  They can also help with financial assistance programs and help identify resources for governmental programs for those who qualify.

Contact TFHS Financial Customer Service:  Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-5:30 pm.  Call (530) 582-3598.