California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a warning to consumers Tuesday about some health care providers reportedly charging a COVID-19 fee that many people are not obligated to pay.
People enrolled in Medi-Cal, Denti-Cal and Medicare may not be charged this fee, which is purported to be for more frequent cleaning and disinfecting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Becerra asks that people who are charged a fee — and who are enrolled in Medi-Cal of Denti-Cal — to call 800-541-5555 to report it to the California Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal Member and Provider Helpline.
Those enrolled in Medicare who are charged the fee should call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE to report it.
Becerra also urged anyone enrolled in any of those three programs who has been charged a COVID-19 fee to file a complaint online with his office at oag.ca.gov/report.
People with private insurance may be subject to the fee but have the right to ask providers why they are being charged such a fee and what it covers, as well as the right to ask insurers if the provider can charge the fee under insurance plan rules.
Becerra said those with private insurance should also alert the California Department of Managed Health Care at 888-466-2219 or visit their website at dmhc.ca.gov/fileacomplaint.aspx, or contact the California Department of Insurance at isurance.ca.gov or at 800-927-4357.
Patients enrolled in Tricare may not be charged a COVID-19 fee by in-network providers. It may only be appropriate to charge the fee when the patient does not inform the provider ahead of time that they have Tricare, and when the provider sends a written notice about a COVID fee to the patient before an appointment. For more information, people can visit tricare.mil/ContactUs/ReportFraudAbuse.