Bill Would Make Employers Pay for Any Required COVID-19 Test

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Employers who require COVID-19 tests for applicants or workers would be required to pay for them under a bill heard by a House committee Wednesday.

The bill would prohibit employers from requiring that an employee or job applicant pay the cost of a COVID-19 test as a condition of employment.

Sen. Suzanne Prentiss, D-West Lebanon, said she and other sponsors of the legislation had heard from constituents who had been required to be tested before returning to work after a quarantine period but did not have insurance or the means to pay.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, most health insurance plans cover COVID-19 tests without a copay or deductible. Those without insurance or those with plans that do not fully cover the cost of testing can apply to have the state pay for the test through a limited testing benefit.

Passing the bill would bolster businesses that promote themselves as safe workplaces, Prentiss told the House committee on labor, and industrial and rehabilitative services.

No one spoke against the bill, which passed the Senate in March.

In other coronavirus developments:

Vaccine Funding

New Hampshire is getting nearly $1 million to increase confidence in the coronavirus vaccine and address barriers to vaccination in underserved and vulnerable communities.

The funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was announced Wednesday by the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation. They said the money will be used for education and outreach efforts led by trusted, community-based leaders.

“As we ramp up efforts to vaccinate every corner of New Hampshire, it’s crucial that every family has the support and information they need to make decisions to protect themselves and loved ones,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. “We can’t turn the page on this crisis without making sure that families in historically underserved and vulnerable areas are cared for, and that’s exactly what this funding does.”

The Numbers

More than 95,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 198 cases announced Wednesday. One new death was announced, bringing the total to 1,308.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has decreased over the past two weeks, going from 350 new cases per day on April 19 to 216 new cases per day on May 3.

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