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As Oregon expands coronavirus testing, uninsured patients may struggle with access

An image of the coronavirus from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As Oregon scrambles to ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus, the nearly 248,000 Oregonians without health insurance could face bills for seeing a doctor or other providers to get tests ordered.

The test itself won’t pose a financial burden so long as government agencies are running testing.

If a patient meets criteria for testing, a doctor seek approval from the state to conduct the test, then swab the patient’s throat or nose. Samples are shipped to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory in Hillsboro.

The swab and shipping cost just a few dollars, Salem Health spokesman Elijah Penner said.

Oregon pays about $350 per COVID-19 test, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said, but . . .