Skip to Main Content
Don't have an account? Create Account
Don't have an account? Create Account

States Respond to COVID-19: Prioritizing Testing for Vulnerable Populations

As the country works to track the spread of COVID-19 through testing, every state has submitted a testing strategy to the federal government outlining plans to mitigate the spread of the virus, protect vulnerable populations, and track supplies and resources.

While there is flexibility for each state to create its own testing plans and address barriers and potential hot spots in their communities, many have similar policies on testing and coverage. Most state plans prioritize vulnerable populations and offer testing for uninsured individuals.

Prioritizing Testing for Vulnerable Populations

Amid a shortage of COVID-19 tests, states have developed practices to ensure those at high risk of contracting to the virus will have access to testing.

Almost every state has prioritized testing for essential workers. For example, California issued an emergency regulation to require all state-regulated health plans provide testing of COVID-19 to essential workers free of cost, regardless of whether a patient experiences symptoms. Pennsylvania‘s legislature directed the state to create guidelines to expand testing to asymptomatic staff in health care spaces, such as long-term care facilities. In addition, South Carolina is requiring the official state testing plan emphasize screening for rural communities and those with a higher presence of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Medicaid Coverage for Uninsured Individuals

To date, at least 20 states have extended Medicaid coverage to uninsured individuals for COVID-19 testing and coverage. For example, Minnesota‘s legislation extends COVID-19 Medicaid coverage to the uninsured regardless of income or age.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this