Gov. Andy Beshear has issued an executive order waiving coronavirus testing fees for state employees and those with private health insurance.
The order follows a Monday morning press conference where the Beshear Administration confirmed the virus is spreading from person to person in Kentucky. Beshear said the executive order, effective immediately, impacts more than 460,000 privately insured residents and state employees.
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our fellow Kentuckians, which is why we have been working together for weeks to prepare for this virus and why we’re in constant contact now to ensure local and state officials are responding promptly and appropriately,” Beshear said.
Beshear’s order allows the Kentucky Department of Insurance to temporarily waive regulations in the interest of public health. It states that all insurers shall waive all cost-sharing including co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles for screening and testing for COVID-19. That includes hospital, emergency department, urgent case, lab testing, provider office visits and tele-health conferences.
The order allows insured individuals to receive prescription drug refills at any time as long as it’s approved by a healthcare provider.
Beshear said he would also remove any impediments to testing and treatment for Kentuckians on Medicaid.
“We’re going to eliminate prior authorizations or any other issues that would cause push-back within that Medicaid system,” he said.
The order is in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency, which the governor declared last week.
Latest On The Virus
So far, 21 people have been tested and 17 tests have returned negative. Beshear said it is too early to predict how far the virus will spread because of the limited availability of testing, but hopes to increase testing as private labs ramp up production.
Four Kentuckians have so far tested positive for the virus and all but one of the cases is the result of a person-to-person spread of the virus.
A Jefferson County resident with a travel history is in stable condition at Norton Brownsboro Hospital.
Virus transmissions in two patients in Harrison Count are linked. One of the patients was employed at a Walmart in Cynthiana, Kentucky. So far none of that patient’s colleagues have shown symptoms and the governor’s office has said the Walmart is safe to visit.
“We had a community partners meeting and we notified Walmart and worked closely with Walmart and our local hospital on details about this patient,” said Dr. Crystal Miller, director of the WEDCO District Health Department.
All that is publicly known about the case in Fayette County is that the individual is a resident.
Directions For Schools, Senior Care Centers And Businesses
The state has not yet recommended schools close, though the option remains on the table. However, Harrison County have announced they would close Monday through March 13.
Health officials advised nursing homes and long-term care facilities to restrict visitors. They’re also asking businesses to plan to allow employees to work from home.
For more information about the virus, The Kentucky Department of Public Health has a hotline at 1-800-722-5725.