No insurance in DC? Make sure you still get your covid19 testing covered

Recently lost your insurance? Never had any to begin with? Read on!

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Ben Pugh

May 08, 2020

No insurance in DC? Make sure you still get your covid19 testing covered


Find Free COVID-19 Testing Sites. Only on RelayCare.

DC, Maryland, and Virgina

Healthcare can be quite nightmare to figure out. In the past we've covered how to get testing with your insurance in Northwest DC and Northeast DC, but several neighbors in DC have reached out to us asking about how to get covid19 testing when you don't already have insurance.

Today we got you! We'll cover:

  1. Free Public Covid19 Testing Sites that dont require insurance in DC
  2. Why you might still need health coverage
  3. How to get health coverage in DC (free + paid options)

Free Public Covid19 Testing Sites that dont require insurance in DC

From the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser: "The District of Columbia is offering free, appointment-required testing for DC residents, individuals that work in a healthcare facility located in DC, and first responders of DC Government that are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, congestion, body aches, chills, runny nose)." - coronavirus.dc.gov/testing

1. United Medical Center Testing Site

1310 Southern Avenue SE | (855) 363-0333

Located in SE DC, United Medical Center is the largest testing site in DC. Must call in advance to make an appointment. No on-site registration is available

2. University of DC Bertie Backus Campus Testing Site

5171 South Dakota Avenue NE | (443) 997-9537

Located at the Bertie Backus Campus of UDC in Northeast DC. Must call in advance to make an appointment (no on-site registration is available)

3. Howard University Hospital Testing Site

2041 Georgia Avenue NW | (202) 865-2119

Located at the medical center at Howard University, this testing stie requires call in advance to make an appointment. No on-site registration is available.

Why you might still need health coverage

Free testing does not equal complete healthcare! Being unprepared (both medically and financially) can put you and your loved ones in quite the bind.

Even though testing is available for free, if you get hospitalized for covid19 (or other reasons) medical bills can be larger than $10,000! On top of this, routine healthcare visits ("preventative health") such as your annual health checkup prevents small health problems from turning into large health problems down the road. This is covered by insurance.

Lastly, if you take prescription medication, health insurance makes sure that you are getting the best rate possible on your refills.

Even if you only lost healthcare temporarily, there are short term solutions available to make sure that you aren't caught off gaurd.

How to get health coverage in DC (free + paid options)

There are four main ways to get healthcare on your own in DC:

1. DC Health Exchange ("Private options") offers CareFirst and Kaiser Plans

This is insurance that you pay for yourself. Unlike other types of insurance you can buy anytime, health insurance you can only buy during the Fall ("Open Enrollment") or when a case-by-case special exception made ("just moved in to the area" or "just lost my previous insurance", etc.). In the case of Covid19, DC has made an exception for everyone where you can buy insurance now if you need it.

Enrolling online is easy, just follow the steps on the DC Health Link website

DC offers two main insurers: CareFirst and Kaiser. Prices range from $300-$600 for a 30-year old, and increase slightly as you get older.

Gotchas:

1. If you choose Kaiser, you can only go to Kaiser locations. If you choose CareFirst, you have more options, but you should still choose locations in their doctor directory. For either of these situations, we've made this easy to figure out on RelayCare app.

2. If you make less than $50K per year (equivalent to less than $25 an hour), you are eligible for a discount from the government ("Advanced Premium Tax Credit"). You can have this autmomatically reduced against your monthly cost if you select the options when signing up on DC HealthLink.

2. DC Medicaid ("Public option")

DC offers a Medicaid program as a public option for those that meet the eligiblity requirements. A full list of eligibilty requirements is available here.

DC's managed Medicaid program is a public-private partnership with with either Trusted Health Plan, AmeriGroup, HSCSNM, or AmeriHealth.

Once you sign up, you can use our app to find care with each of these plansFinding care with these plans is available on our app.

3. DC Health Alliance ("Expanded public option")

The DC government has put in extra work to make sure that healthcare options are available to those who cannot reasonably pay $300+ for a private option, but also can't get Medicaid either. The DC Health Alliance program is available to residents who:

  • Make less than $25K per year
  • Couples who make less than $33K per year
  • Families of 4 who make less than $51K per year

The full list of eligibility is available here.

Once you qualify, DC will assign you a Managed Care plan for your health coverage. Similar to DC's managed Medicaid program, this will be a partnership with either Trusted Health Plan, AmeriGroup, HSCSNM, or AmeriHealth. We also support these plans on the RelayCare app.

4. Medicare (retired residents)

Medicare is a health coverage program offered by the federal government. To qualify, you must enroll 3 months prior to your 65th birthday (or up to 9 months after). Often this is sold through a partnership with a health insurance company under the nickname "Medicare Advantage." We will write more about this in a future post.

Conclusion

If you feel like you are at risk for covid19, it's important that you get testing and self-quarantine to limit the further spread. If you don't have insurance, there are three public testing sites in DC that offer testing by appointment, free of charge i charge. f you don't have insurance, you can still get it using one of the private or public options.


Find Free COVID-19 Testing Sites. Only on RelayCare.

DC, Maryland, and Virgina

WRITTEN BY


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Ben Pugh

Founder & CEO, RelayCare

Ben is a mathematician and self-taught full-stack software engineer.