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Photo: GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images

More than a year after Congress required insurers to pay the full amount charged by out-of-network providers for COVID tests, the procedure has become extremely lucrative for some hospitals and other providers, KHN reports.

Why it matters: Even if patients don't have to directly pay for overpriced diagnostic tests, it adds onto the overall cost of care — which leads to higher insurance premiums.

State of play: Prices can vary from $20 to $1,419 for a single test, a recent KFF survey of the two largest hospitals in each state found. Federal law requires insurers to reimburse out-of-network providers the cash price of the tests posted on their website.

  • Medicare reimburses providers between $36 and $143 per test.
  • Some free-standing emergency rooms are charging more than $1,000 per test, KHN reports. And some in-network payment rates are high as well.

Between the lines: Hundreds of millions of coronavirus tests have been performed since the pandemic began, and they continue to be conducted routinely.

  • With that kind of volume, the cost of artificially high testing prices can add up quickly.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Most Americans favor mandates

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Most Americans support mandating masks in schools and vaccinations to return to the workplace, and they oppose states' efforts to ban such moves, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

But, but, but: The survey finds the Republican base going against the grain so disproportionately that it helps explain the defiant postures of many red-state governors.

Aug 17, 2021 - Health

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for COVID-19

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has tested positive for COVID-19, his office announced Tuesday. Abbott is "experiencing no symptoms" and is fully vaccinated.

Why it matters: Abbott has fought vehemently against public health measures such as mask and vaccine mandates.

Aug 17, 2021 - Health

Nearly 6,000 students in quarantine or isolation in Florida school district

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Nearly 6,000 students and over 300 staff members tested positive or have been exposed to COVID-19 in a Florida school district, officials announced Monday.

Why it matters: The alarming number of people in quarantine or isolation has prompted an emergency board meeting at Hillsborough County Public Schools — the seventh-largest district in the nation.