Last updated on March 27th, 2020 at 11:56 am
Ascension Wisconsin will not bill its uninsured patients for testing and treatment related to COVID-19.
The health system unveiled its new financial hardship policy on Wednesday, as the number of confirmed cases in Wisconsin rose to 585, up nearly 28% from Tuesday.
Ascension Wisconsin said Wednesday it also will not bill patients who are insured for out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays, related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
The system also said financial assistance applications will be valid for one year to reduce the burden of re-application, and it will extend its payment grace period to four months.
Last week, Milwaukee Ald. Khalif Rainey called on St. Louis-based Ascension to waive testing and treatment costs for uninsured patients at Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – St. Joseph Campus on the city’s north side.
“This hospital is the only source of medical care for many of my own constituents and serves some of Milwaukee’s poorest residents – many of whom lack adequate insurance. This pandemic cannot – must not – become a death sentence for the poor and uninsured,” Rainey said in a letter to Joseph Impicciche, president and CEO of Ascension.
Milwaukee County had 343 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 267 in the city of Milwaukee, as of Thursday morning.
Several insurers in Wisconsin are waiving out-of-pocket costs associated with coronavirus testing for their members, after the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance urged health insurers to take such action to remove barriers to testing and treatment of the virus. Brookfield-based Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative said it will cover copays, deductibles and coinsurance for in-network provider and urgent care visits that are related to testing for COVID-19.
Ascension Wisconsin this week also opened drive-through testing sites for COVID-19, which are available by appointment only. Those seeking testing must first go through pre-screening by an Ascension provider by phone or virtual appointment.
Ascension Wisconsin testing sites include:
- Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – Franklin Campus
- Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee – Gateway Clinic in West Allis
- Ascension St. Francis Medical Arts Pavilion in Milwaukee
- Ascension Wisconsin Health Center – Mount Pleasant Urgent Care
- Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – Mayfair Road Urgent Care in Wauwatosa
- Grafton High School
- St. Joseph Campus in Milwaukee
- Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – Elmbrook Campus in Brookfield