All major Tennessee health insurance carriers to cover cost of COVID-19 testing

coronavirus test kit
Posted at 3:38 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 16:42:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — All of Tennessee’s licensed, major medical insurance carriers have say they'll help in the fight against COVID-19 by covering the cost of testing, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance.

In addition to waiving the cost for COVID-19 testing, the Department has also requested that health carriers provide timely, accurate information, respond to consumer inquiries quickly, utilize telehealth services where available, and not use preauthorization requirements as a reason for not providing testing and treatment.

“Governor Lee has made preparedness and a swift response to the potential spread of coronavirus top priorities,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “As part of our mission, we have requested Tennessee’s health carriers to assist in facilitating prevention measures – including covering the cost of coronavirus testing – in order for our state to successfully fight the spread of this disease. I sincerely appreciate Tennessee’s health carriers for working with us to help address this challenge.”

Commissioner Mainda added, “Several insurance companies in Tennessee have already voluntarily adopted these policies, and we look forward to working with the remaining carriers in adopting this request.“


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.