AHIP study: Out-of-network providers price-gouging insurers for COVID-19 tests

A person holds a positive COVID-19 test
A new AHIP study compares the in-network and out-of-network costs for COVID-19 testing.(jarun011/Getty)

Out-of-network costs for COVID-19 testing far outpace the costs for in-network tests, according to a new report from America's Health Insurance Plans.

The results suggest that price gouging is a significant problem under the pandemic, the group argues.

The AHIP analysis finds that a test for the novel coronavirus costs on average $130 for commercial insurers. However, out-of-network providers charged more than $185 for 40% of diagnostic test and 25% of antibody tests, the lobby organization found.

One in ten out-of-network testing claims charged $390 or more, three times the average cost.

AHIP surveyed 22 of its members in July on the costs associated with COVID-19 testing, representing 67% of the commercial membership covered by its insurers. They said nearly a tenth (9.4%) of claims for testing came from out-of-network providers.

RELATED: COVID-19 could cost insurers up to $547B through 2021, report finds

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