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The Checkup: New protection for uninsured on COVID-19 testing

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With this daily feature, The Eagle runs down breaking local developments in the coronavirus crisis.

DON'T PAY THAT BILL: The federal government does not require people to pay for COVID-19 tests, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This week, the state's public health commissioner, Monica Bharel, signed an order providing further protection to the uninsured. Bharel's public health order forbids health care providers from sending a bill for COVID-19 testing to people who lack health insurance.

Bharel's office acted after learning that some insurance providers have been billing uninsured people, despite the existence of a federal program designed to cover costs. Insurers are allowed to collect information from patients and use that information to pursue reimbursement through the federal system.

RATING THE RECESSION: S&P Global Ratings is one of those groups that scouts for bumps ahead, and beneath, when it comes to the economy. It is bullish on where the global economy will be by 2023, but for now, news remains grim due to the coronavirus. A report it released Wednesday cautions that the pandemic recession hasn't seen its bottom.

Here's an interesting fact included in the report. In the first half of this year, the U.S. economy gave up three times as much economic growth value as it did in the whole of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and in one-third the time.

The Department of Health's daily COVID-19 data report was not available yet as of late Thursday.

To contribute news to The Checkup, please email lparnass@berkshireeagle.com or call 413-588-8341.

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