General Assembly OKs bill prohibiting insurers from charging copays for COVID treatments


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) and Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) that would prohibit health insurance companies from charging copays for COVID-related treatments.

The bill (2021-S 0877A, 2021-H 6208A) would prohibit insurance carriers from charging any out-of-pocket expenses to the insured for treatment related to the COVID-19 pandemic while the state of emergency order is in effect.

“Out-of-pocket expenses can be a huge financial barrier for many when it comes to seeking medical treatment,” said Senator DiMario. “We want to remove as many barriers as possible for people who are trying to access testing, vaccination and treatment. From a public health perspective, we need to continue to have a collective response to this pandemic in terms of the health of our communities.”

The legislation would also mandate that all COVID-19 testing or vaccination is free during and upon the expiration of the state of emergency order.

“As a state, protecting the health and safety of all Rhode Islanders, especially working people, should be our top priority. There should not be any financial barriers standing in the way of someone who thinks that they have COVID-19 from accessing testing or treatment,” said Representative Morales. “While we are fortunate to be one of the leading states in terms of vaccination rates, this pandemic is not over by any means, and we put our progress at risk if we relax the measures that have encouraged people to get tested, treated and vaccinated. We are still in an emergency and we need all insurers to stay on board and continue to be committed partners in our effort to overcome this pandemic and minimize the impact it is having on our communities.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.



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