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March 24, 2021

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Employer‑related testing for workforce members is not a covered benefit

A growing trend has been identified with a small number of employers who may be having workforce members get COVID‑19 testing as a condition of employment, for safe workplaces. This is also known as surveillance testing and, although it may be a business practice to help ensure workplace safety, surveillance testing is not required to be covered by applicable federal or state law, and is not included in the medical benefits provided by Independence. This is an employment‑based workplace test, similar to drug testing, and the employer is responsible for the cost of the test.

The Independence Corporate & Financial Investigations Department (CFID) is working closely with several group employers to ensure that there is broad understanding of coverage for surveillance testing.

In accordance with applicable federal and state law, Independence covers medically necessary diagnostic and antibody testing when prescribed by a health care provider. Independence does not cover tests that are needed for return to work, return to school, for travel purposes, or for visiting with relatives.

The Independence Blue Cross policy covering this topic outlines that surveillance testing is not covered under commercial medical policies.            

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Independence Blue Cross offers products through its subsidiaries Independence Hospital Indemnity Plan, Keystone Health Plan East and QCC Insurance Company, and with Highmark Blue Shield — independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.