Health Care and Testing

If you believe you or a family member may be experiencing symptoms, please contact your health provider by telephone first, before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care clinic, or hospital. This enables providers to prepare for your arrival and not endanger others in the waiting room. At this time, the Maryland Department of Health and commercials labs are providing testing for COVID-19. Again, contact your health provider before seeking testing.

Testing and Preventive Services

In order to keep our communities safe, we have to eliminate as many barriers to health care as possible, starting with financial barriers. We also need to increase supports for those whose health challenges may be exacerbated by this public health crisis, including individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Congress has mandated that all insurers cover the cost of testing for coronavirus without any cost-sharing or prior authorization requirements. We have also required testing with no cost sharing under the Medicare Advantage Program, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. For uninsured individuals, laboratory reimbursements for diagnostic testing of COVID-19 will be available.

Additionally, Congress has required all group health plans and insurers offering group or individual plans to cover vaccines and other preventive treatments without cost-sharing, and allows Medicare to do the same for vaccines.

Governor Larry Hogan similarly has required all insurers in Maryland to waive costs associated with coronavirus testing, including copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles.

Substance Use and Mental Health Care

The American Resuce Plan provides $3 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This funding will be used to increase access to mental health services in our communities through Community Behavioral Health Clinics, suicide prevention programs, and emergency response spending. This will direct support where it is most needed, including outreach to those experiencing homelessness.

Click here to find a mental health or substance use disorder treatment provider near you.

Additionally, Congress now allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to enter into agreements with telecommunications companies to provide broadband for veterans in support of providing tele-mental health care. This will make it easier for our veterans to receive the mental health care they need while social distancing policies make it more difficult to travel to service providers.

Click here to find contact information for your designated VA mental health point of contact.

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