‘Free’ COVID-19 testing site bills Charlotte man $215

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte man went to a “free” COVID-19 testing site but was billed for the test.

The director of ThrivePoint Medical Laboratories told Channel 9 it’s an ongoing problem. She said many sites advertise free tests, but explained they can’t guarantee they’re free until they’re processed by the insurance company.

She said ThrivePoint Medical is dealing with thousands of similar testing issues.

Rob South, of Charlotte, wanted relief from the COVID-19 symptoms he had developed. That was when he got tested.

“In November, I felt sick and I was feeling bad,” South said.

He went to a site outside Carolina Place mall that said he could get tested at no cost. South said he gave his insurance card and testing sample to the workers at the Test4Free site, then got a bill for $215.

“I was confused as to why a free COVID test cost $215,” he said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida’s website shows his claim was denied, citing missing information. A representative for Florida Blue said that can happen if the doctor or lab does not provide enough documentation.

The lab, which in this case was ThrivePoint Medical, said its medical director signs off on tests and sends the records to insurance companies.

The director said she’s been dealing with frequent holdups involving Blue Cross. Florida Blue said that is because ThrivePoint Medical is out of network.

“We’ve heard of similar things,” said Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke. “These kinds of popup ones and parking lots and people going to labs and then having to fight to get things covered.”

Stoogenke recommends getting tested at a government-backed location to avoid problems.

“It shouldn’t be this difficult, you know?” South said.

Florida Blue recommends reaching out to your insurer if you find yourself in a similar situation.

The insurance company said it contacted South after Channel 9 asked about his case. He’s still waiting for his claim to be approved.

“I’m frustrated, it’s not right,” South said.

Test4Free said it can’t comment on ThrivePoint Medical’s billing policies.

Stoogenke said people can get the state involved if they face similar issues. The best thing to do is file a complaint with the attorney general’s office and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

(WATCH BELOW: StarMed to start vaccinating kids as young 6 months old on Wednesday)

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