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Not the Expected Test or Fee

The New York Times reports that one doctor who set up COVID-19 testing sites with towns north of New York City not only tested patients for the coronavirus, but for a wider range of respiratory pathogens. The doctor, Steven Murphy, then billed patients' insurance for the expensive test, it adds.

According to the Times, Murphy additionally billed patients' insurance for the phone call in which their results were relayed. Rebecca Sussman tells it that her insurance was billed $6,816 after she and her family sought testing at a site set up by her town and run by Murphy, noting that her fee alone was $1,944.

Murphy tells the Times it would have been inappropriate to only test individuals for the coronavirus, as other diseases could be missed. "Just testing for coronavirus is one of the most dangerous things you could do," he tells it. "It is crystal clear that mentality is bad for public health." 

However, Alexander McAdam from Boston Children's Hospital tells the Times that broad panel testing was not needed in these instances, calling it "unusual and, in my opinion, inappropriate."

The Times adds that while some insurers appear to be paying the higher fees, others are denying the claims or are asking for additional information.