ADJUSTING TO LIFE IN A PANDEMIC
Health Insurers Waive COVID-19 Out-of-Pocket Treatment Costs
Blue Cross and Blue Shield latest insurer to suspend deductibles or copays for coronavirus-related medical services
by Dena Bunis, AARP, Updated April 3, 2020 | Comments: 9
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Medical equipment sits in a hospital in New York City.
En español | Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Thursday that its network of locally-operated BCBS plans across the country will be waiving cost-sharing for the treatment of COVID-19 through May 31. This includes coverage for testing and coronavirus treatment, including inpatient hospital stays.
The plans join a growing number of insurers that are cutting out-of-pocket costs for members. These decisions generally apply to commercial plans and individuals with Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental or Medigap policies, and Medicaid.
In a Rose Garden briefing last Sunday, President Trump announced that Humana and Cigna would be waiving treatment-related charges such as copays and deductibles. These two national insurers join seven other large and small insurers who have taken such actions in recent days.
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Aetna, a division of CVS Health, was the first health insurer to waive such charges. Insurers had already waived cost-sharing for coronavirus testing.
"We know we're uniquely positioned to help our members during this unprecedented health crisis,” Bruce Broussard, president and CEO of Humana, said in a statement on Monday. “It's why we're taking this significant action to help ease the burden on seniors and others who are struggling right now. No American should be concerned about the cost of care when being treated for coronavirus."
Humana says its waiver applies to all out-of-pocket medical costs related to the treatment of COVID-19 as well as FDA-approved medications or vaccines when they become available. The waiver is open-ended.
Cigna is waiving out-of-pocket costs for all COVID-19 treatment through May 31, including Medicare and commercial enrollees, according to an announcement on its website.
According to the Association of Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the following plans have so far waived out-of-pocket charges for their members.
Here are the announcements from other insurers.
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