The nation’s health insurers are responding to the coronavirus pandemic with changes to coverage associated with COVID-19 as the number of cases continues to swell across the U.S.
The biggest payers have said they will waive patient cost-sharing — copays, coinsurance and deductibles — for testing. Although some, such as Cigna and Humana, have gone farther by eliminating cost-sharing for all COVID-19 treatment.
In addition to coverage decisions, insurers are weighing the ways they can reduce administrative barriers to promote quicker access to care for those infected with the novel coronavirus. All are cutting back on prior authorization in various ways to ease access to care.
Hospitals say that’s not enough, and are calling on the biggest payers to follow actions taken by Congress and CMS to help resolve cash flow issues, by accelerating payments or opting into releasing interim periodic payments. The American Hospital Association also is urging payers to eliminate administrative burdens such as prior authorizations.
“This crisis is challenging for all of us, and everyone has a role to play,” AHA said in its letter to the nation’s largest insurers. “You could make a significant difference in whether a hospital or health system keeps their doors open during this critical time.”
Despite the policy changes by payers, employers with self-funded plans can opt out of these policies. A majority of workers are covered by self-insured plans, which essentially allow employers to decide coverage decisions given they’re paying for the claims and having insurers simply perform administrative services.
Below is a tracker with the latest coverage decisions for the nation’s largest insurers.