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Washington waives copays, deductibles for coronavirus testing and treatment

People with health insurance will no longer have to pay copays or deductibles to get treatment or testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) due to an emergency order.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — People in Washington state who need treatment or testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) can get it without having to worry about copays or deductibles. 

The Insurance Commissioner of Washington state Mike Kreidler issued the emergency order to state health insurers on Thursday. 

The order requires health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for anyone requiring testing or treatment for COVID-19. 

The person must meet the criteria for testing set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their healthcare provider.

It also requires insurers to allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs and suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19.

RELATED: Here are the deaths and cases of coronavirus in Washington state

The order also allows for people to be treated by an out of network provider at no additional cost if there are not enough medical providers in their network. 

The emergency order is in effect until May 4, 2020, and might be put in place for longer depending on the evolving situation. 

The emergency order did not say anything about people who do not have health insurance. 

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency last week due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

As of Thursday, March 5, 11 people have died from COVID-19 in the state and another 59 people have tested positive with the virus. 

Many of the cases stem from an outbreak at Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland.

What are coronavirus symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization.

Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to DOH.

Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.

A new Washington call center has been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

RELATED: Can’t find hand sanitizer? Here is how to make your own