By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Four major health insurance companies operating in Montana are voluntarily waiving their customers’ co-payments and deductibles for coronavirus testing, state Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale announced Tuesday.

While each company is taking its own specific steps, Rosendale noted they’re all responding before Montana has a case of coronavirus and without a government mandate.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is waiving co-payments and deductibles for testing to diagnose COVID-19 “when medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control guidance.” The waivers apply to members who buy their policies directly from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The Montana Health CO-OP, PacificSource Health Plans and the Allegiance Life & Health Insurance Company are waiving all consumer out-of-pocket costs for prescribed testing services, with Pacific noting any related services would have to take place at an in-network facility.

“It’s a no-brainer for us,” said Montana Health CO-OP CEO Richard Miltenberger. “We not only owe it to our members to ensure their safety, but to our fellow community members as well.”

PacificSource and Blue Cross and Blue Shield also manage self-funded employer health insurance plans. Both companies are contacting the employer groups to see if they want to create similar waivers. Anyone with questions should call the phone number on the back of their insurance card.

Allegiance’s waiver also applies to customers enrolled in its employer-sponsored plans, the company said. Organizations that have Allegiance administer their plans will also have the option to include coronavirus testing as a preventive benefit, without cost.

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