March 30, 2020
As the coronavirus tightens its grip on the United States, many health insurers have begun waiving certain out-of-pocket fees for treatment – in addition to covering the costs of testing.
Health insurers Cigna and Humana are now waiving all patient medical costs related to the treatment of coronavirus, including hospitalizations and ambulance transfers, for all of their insured members.
"Our customers with COVID-19 should focus on fighting this virus and preventing its spread," Cigna President and CEO David Cordani said in a statement. "While our customers focus on regaining their health, we have their backs. Our teams of experts are working around the clock to support front line health care workers, increase flexibility for hospitals, and deliver greater peace of mind to those we serve."
The recently-passed CARES ACT requires health insurers to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing and any treatments and vaccines that become available.
Here's what you need to know about your out-of-pocket costs for any testing or treatment related to COVID-19:
Aetna is waiving member cost-sharing for physician-ordered COVID-19 tests and any related office, clinic or emergency room visit. Samples must be sent to approved labs. The health insurer also is waiving out-of-pocket fees for inpatient admissions at all in-network facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 and related health complications.
In addition to covering testing costs, AmeriHealth is covering telemedicine services for its members. All costs related to treatment will be covered based upon the terms of individual plans.
All Cigna members will be fully covered for any diagnostic visits, including virtual visits, and treatment related to COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. All out-of-pocket testing costs also are covered if it is performed by a health care provider or hospital, and the sample sent to an approved lab.
All fully-insured members of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will have cost-sharing waived for the diagnosis of COVID-19 based upon U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. This includes all charges associated with a visit to in-network primary care physicians and urgent care centers as well as in-network and out-of-network emergency room evaluation of symptoms. Lab charges for the testing, both in-and out-of-network, also are covered. Telemedicine services are covered through June 30, 2020.
Humana has expanded its coverage to include all medical costs related to COVID-19 for its members. This includes telehealth visits – both for primary care physicians and specialists. Humana Medical Advantage and employer-plan members who test positive for the virus don't need preauthorization to start treatment.
Independence Blue Cross is waiving patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 tests. All co-pays, deductibles and coinsurance related to the testing will be covered and reimbursed for their members. All member cost-sharing is waived for in-network, inpatient acute care treatment. Telemedicine services for primary care are completely covered; virtual visits with specialists are based on an individual's plan.
United Healthcare is waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing at approved locations for its members and related care received in a doctor's office, telehealth visit or urgent care center or emergency department. In addition, the company is offering a special enrollment period for some of its current commercial customers to help them get the health care they need during the coronavirus crisis. Administrative requirements for prior authorization related to COVID-19 also have been reduced.