Q: I am uninsured. Where can I get a COVID-19 test even if I have no symptoms?
A: Anyone over the age of 18, regardless of symptoms, can be tested at a state-supported site. Some testing sites cover all ages. Testing locations are on the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s website: https://floridadisaster.org/covid19/testing-sites/. Additional sites can be found on the individual county’s COVID-19 page. For example, here is the link for Miami-Dade.
Q: Is there a charge at the state-supported testing sites?
A: No. But there can be long lines and a limited number of tests provided each day. You are encouraged to call the local site for information or check their website.
Q: What if I have symptoms or have been exposed and cannot wait in a line for the test?
A: The Florida Department of Health advises calling your local County Health Department if you have symptoms or may have been exposed. Also, according to the July 2020 Florida Medicaid Agency FAQ, uninsured individuals who have been determined to need testing outside of a hospital setting can receive a test from their county health department or a Federally Qualified Health Center for free.
Q: As someone who is uninsured, where can I get outpatient treatment if I have COVID or symptoms of COVID?
A: Uninsured individuals can receive treatment at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or a local health clinic.
Q: Where can I find a list of FQHCs (and other clinics treating uninsured individuals)?
A: A list of FQHCs that treat uninsured individuals is available by zip code here. A list of free clinics in Florida by county is available here or search for free clinics by zip code here.
Q: Is there a charge for treatment at FQHCs and other clinics?
A: Most FQHCs do charge fees based on a sliding scale; other clinic policies vary. You should call ahead to the FQHCs listed here or clinics listed here for more information.
Q: If I go to a hospital that receives federal funds for treating COVID patients, can the hospital also bill me for my treatment?
A: If you are uninsured and receive COVID-19-related testing and/or treatment services, your provider may have submitted a claim to the federal government Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for reimbursement of these services. Providers who participate in and are reimbursed from the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program are not allowed to "balance bill" or charge any type of cost sharing for individuals who do not have health care coverage. The Terms and Conditions for participating providers can be found here. (see 4th bullet on page 4).
A list of Florida hospitals that received payment can be found here. A list of all of Florida’s health care providers (including clinics and individual providers) can be found here. If your provider has questions they can visit the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
Q: Are there any other consumer protections for hospital bills resulting from COVID treatment (or any other condition):
A: Under the Affordable Care Act’s changes to the IRS, nonprofit hospitals are required to establish a financial assistance plan (FAP) for patients who cannot afford the costs of their treatment. Hospitals must provide a link on their website to information regarding their FAP and how patients can apply.
Q: I believe that my county has a health care program for low-income residents. Will that program cover my hospital bill?
A: Local policies vary county to county. Some counties have free or reduced cost programs for low-income uninsured county residents that put a cap on the amount very low-income uninsured residents can be charged for inpatient hospital care. For example, Miami-Dade County’s public hospital, Jackson Memorial, charges $100/day for a maximum of $300 for hospital inpatient charges for county residents below the federal poverty level. The Hillsborough County Health Care Plan provides free hospitalization to eligible residents below 138% of the poverty level.
If you cannot access the resources above, please feel free to contact Florida Health Justice Project.
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