clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah Medicaid will now cover COVID-19 testing for uninsured

9,999 people have now tested positive in Utah

Cassandra Stockwell, a registered nurse, stores a testing sample while giving COVID-19 tests at a TestUtah testing site outside of Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem on Thursday, May 28, 2020.
Cassandra Stockwell, a registered nurse, stores a testing sample while giving COVID-19 tests at a TestUtah testing site outside of Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem on Thursday, May 28, 2020.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Medicaid program will now cover COVID-19 testing, including serology testing, for those without insurance, health officials announced Monday.

While the Utah Department of Health has touted testing as free for the uninsured since the outbreak hit Utah, providers needed to submit claims to the Health Resources and Services Administration, which reimbursed them with funds from the CARES Act, said Kolbi Young, Utah Medicaid spokeswoman.

And serology testing — which seeks antibodies in a person’s blood to determine whether they’ve had the virus — has not been offered for free on a widespread basis.

The change is expected to protect both patients and providers by ensuring providers get reimbursed and patients don’t end up needing to pay out of pocket for their testing.

“We think that it can help a lot of people out,” Young said.

There won’t be a cap on the number of people who can be covered through the program, which will run through the end of the public health emergency period, Young said.

Anyone without insurance who meets Utah residency and citizenship requirements is eligible regardless of income. Those interested can apply at medicaid.utah.gov/covid-19-uninsured-testing-coverage.

Unlike funding through the CARES Act, funding for testing provided through Medicaid won’t run out, Young said. The funds come from federal appropriations, and Utah received federal approval to offer the program.

Another benefit is that applicants for the program will also be pushed through the full Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program application process unless they opt out. That will likely help those who are uninsured, but eligible, receive insurance, Young said.

As of the end of April, the latest date for which numbers are available, 309,015 Utahns were enrolled in Medicaid, according to Young. Of them, 53,000 adults were enrolled as part of the state’s full Medicaid expansion implemented this year.

The program has seen an uptick in enrollment during the pandemic, Young said. Officials expect numbers to continue rising.

New cases

On Monday, 202 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Utah, a smaller rise than the past several days. No new deaths were reported, leaving the state’s toll at 113.

In Utah, 9,999 people have now tested positive for the virus out of 218,112 tests — a positive rate of just under 4.6%. Just under 7% of the state has been tested.

On Monday, Salt Lake County confirmed about 100 more cases, while Utah County increased by 36. The Bear River health district saw a relatively large rise in cases, with 28 more confirmed; Southwest Utah’s cases increased by 14; and Wasatch County confirmed 10. The rest of Utah’s health districts each saw less than 10 more cases confirmed.

Since the previous Monday, Utah saw a rise in its positive rate, at 7.1% of those tested. The previous week brought a positive rate of 5.2%, the Utah Department of Health said in a statement. Total testing numbers were similar in both weeks at around 19,000.

Hospitals treated 14 more people for the novel coronavirus since Sunday’s report. But the total current hospitalizations fell slightly from 98 on Sunday to 95 on Monday.

Now, 6,251 people in Utah are considered recovered from the disease after passing the three-week point since their diagnoses.

The latest breakdown of Utah cases, hospitalizations and deaths by health district:

  • Salt Lake County, 5,340; 461 hospitalized; 74 deaths.
  • Utah County, 1,965; 104 hospitalized; 17 deaths.
  • Davis County, 472; 42 hospitalized; 2 deaths.
  • Southwest Utah, 454; 41 hospitalized; 4 deaths.
  • Summit County, 416; 37 hospitalized; 0 deaths.
  • San Juan County, 299; 29 hospitalized; 5 deaths.
  • Weber-Morgan, 303; 32 hospitalized; 7 deaths.
  • Wasatch County, 292; 14 hospitalized; 2 death.
  • Bear River, 246; 15 hospitalized; 2 deaths.
  • Tooele County, 129; 7 hospitalized; 0 deaths.
  • Central Utah, 38; 3 hospitalized; 0 deaths.
  • Southeast Utah, 24; 0 hospitalized; 0 deaths.
  • TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 21; 1 hospitalized; 0 deaths.