18 March 2020 – Made coronavirus testing free and funded testing development

Intervention Categories: Surveillance and response measures; Detecting and isolating cases; Finance policy and financial aid; Financial aid to health services
Level of Jurisdiction: Federal

Overview: The U.S. Congress made COVID-19 testing free by funding up to $1 billion through the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of the phase 2 and phase 3 legislation. Phase 3.5 legislation included $25 billion to increase testing.

This measure covers the cost of COVID-19 testing for both insured and uninsured Americans, including through Medicare and Medicaid.

Under phase 2 legislation, the measure also provides $82 million to TRICARE, the U.S. military healthcare system; $64 million to the Indian Health Service through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and $60 million to the Veterans Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in order to fund testing and detection of COVID-19.

Phase 3 legislation required all private insurance plans to cover coronavirus treatment and vaccines in ensuring all testing is free.

Phase 3.5 legislation allocated $25 billion to improve testing, including: $11 billion for states, localities, territories, and Tribes; $1 billion to the CDC for activities to support testing; $1.8 billion the NIH and $1 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop faster tests; $22 million for the FDA to quicken development and approval of diagnostics; $600 million for Community Health Centers and $225 million for Rural Health Clinics to support testing; and up to $1 billion to cover the cost of testing uninsured people. The legislation also required the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a strategic testing plan to Congress.
Full details here: https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/issue-brief/the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-summary-of-key-provisions/