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Utah woman receives surprise bill for COVID-19 testing

Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 21:34:02-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah – A Utah woman said she was shocked to receive a large bill for her COVID-19 test, which is supposed to be free.

On the morning of March 31, Renee Scheering was following protocol.

“I was just following the procedure that told you to call that 800 number and see if you’re eligible for testing,” said Renee.

Like thousands before her, when Renee noticed a symptom she called the COVID hotline, and made her way to a drive-up testing facility.

“The one that [the COVID hotline] went to was Intermountain and that’s why I chose it,” Renee said.

She dealt with the uncomfortable nasal swab and within 45 minutes was on her way. But a few days later, she was shocked to find a bill from Intermountain Healthcare in the amount of $150 in her mailbox.

“I was very, very upset,” said Renee. “[State leaders] wanted as many people tested as possible, so I figured it was free testing.”

Renee is right. Testing is supposed to be free. Insurance companies are supposed to cover costs for their clients and the government is covering costs for the uninsured.

“[Cost was] never mentioned, never asked me if I had insurance to pay for it or anything, they never said anything to me,” said Renee.

“I don’t have an extra $150 to throw at a bill that I didn’t expect,” she continued. “If I knew [there was a cost] I may not have been tested,” Renee said.

Intermountain Healthcare agreed.

“No one is expected to pay for testing," Intermountain spokesperson Jess Gomez said in a conversation with FOX 13. “We don’t want cost to be a barrier to being tested, that’s the bottom line.”

Renee wants to know why she is fronting the bill, but Intermountain said she won’t have to.

In a follow-up conversation with FOX 13, Intermountain Healthcare said it was an error as the process was getting started and she should not have been billed. Gomez said now they also ask people for their insurance as a regular part of the testing process.