Medicare payment changes for COVID-19 tests take effect: 3 things to know

A change in how Medicare pays laboratories for COVID-19 diagnostic tests took effect Jan. 1, with a 25 percent pay cut enacted for facilities that take more than two days to complete the tests. 

Three things to know: 

1. Medicare lowered the base payment for COVID-19 tests that use high-throughput technology to $75. Labs can get an additional $25 if they provide results in two days or less.

2. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the pay change aims to incentivize labs to speed up turnaround for COVID-19 results. 

3. CMS announced the changes in October 2020. 

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