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People ordered "$0" COVID tests, then insurance said they may owe hundreds. Here's why

People told they may owe hundreds for "$0 cost" COVID tests
People told they may owe hundreds for "$0 cost" COVID tests 02:22

NEW YORK -- People who ordered "$0" COVID tests from a New York City company later found out they may owe hundreds of dollars. 

Frank Stanco said he stumbled upon the Fast Lab Technologies website, which offered at-home COVID tests for "$0 cost." 

"I said why not? Zero cost," said Stanco. 

Months later, a letter from his insurance provider arrived at his Long Island home. 

"And there were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 [COVID tests] on here, and they wanna charge me $325 for each, and it was out-of-network. I said I'm not paying that. It said zero," said Stanco. 

According to the Better Business Bureau, more than 140 complaints have been made about Fast Lab over the last few years. Many were similar to Stanco's story. 

The top of the Fast Lab website describes "$0 testing," but further down it specifies "$0 cost with insurance." 

"The insurance companies are being charged and of course if the insurance doesn't pick up the whole thing, then they try to go to the individuals to get the money," said Claire Rosenzweig, of the Better Business Bureau. 

The CBS New York Investigates team went to Fast Lab in Brooklyn, where an employee said its legal team would contact us.

Do you have a story that needs investigating? Let us know.

Fast Lab's attorney said via email they only charge insurers and try to negotiate with them if they refuse.

When we asked who pays if the insurer won't, they said, "This is really a question for the insurance companies, and the answer depends on a number of factors on a case by case basis." 

The attorney said, "The only complaints that I am aware of relate to the explanation of benefits sent to patients from insurance companies." An explanation of benefits, he said, is not a bill. 

"Taking advantage of the fact that there aren't as many free tests available, they're trying to say to people that these tests are free," said Rosenzweig. 

Stanco said Fast Lab apologized and told him he wouldn't have to pay anything after he complained to the BBB. 

In March, the CDC revised its guidance on masks and testing

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