Illinois Healthcare News| April 17, 2020
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Waive Cost-sharing for COVID-19 Treatment
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has pitched into the national effort to beat the worldwide pandemic, by waiving member co-payments for COVID-19 treatment.
From April 1 through May 31, the state’s biggest health insurer announced that members will not be required to pay any deductible, coinsurance or co-payments for any COVID-19 treatment received.
The waiver of cost-sharing costs applies to both in-network healthcare as well as out-of-network emergency treatment.
“We want every member to have the peace of mind and security that comes with the knowledge they can access the health care they need when they need it most,” said Steve Hamman, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, in a news release.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has more than 8 1/2 million members in the state of Illinois.
The nation’s health insurers step up to the challenge
Recently, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois joined the growing number of health insurers to waive the cost of COVID-19 testing. Other measures announced previously include increasing coverage of telehealth sessions, removing barriers to early prescription refills and finally, creating a COVID-19 website.
However, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is not the only health insurer to step up to defeat the pandemic:
Aetna has waived cost-sharing for inpatient admissions at every in-network healthcare facility for treating COVID-19 and health issues associated with the disease. This is effective through June 1, 2020.
Cigna has waived member co-payments and cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment, through May 31, 2020. The COVID-19 treatments that Cigna covers are the same as those covered under Medicare and applicable state regulations.
Humana has waived deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance cost-sharing for covered services related to COVID-19. That includes tests and treatments, even out-of-network. This can include telehealth, doctor visits, labs, home health, and ambulance services.
AllWays Health Partners is eliminating deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for testing. It’s also waiving co-pays for treatment at in-network healthcare facilities. They are also covering access to out-of-network providers for the COVID-19 test as well as treatment when there are no in-network providers available. Finally, AllWays has eliminated all cost-sharing for telemedicine sessions.
CareFirst has offices in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This healthcare provider is waiving coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles for both in-network or out-of-network treatment. Likewise, costs for lab fees, telehealth or other treatments related to COVID-19 will be covered as long as the public health emergency lasts. CareFirst has also dropped its prior authorization requirement for tests and services related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Fallon Health in Massachusetts has waived co-pays for COVID-19 treatment. They have also relaxed the need for prior authorization and out-of-network medical care.
L.A. Care in California has waived all costs related to the screening, testing, and treatment of COVID-19.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is only one health insurer to waive cost-sharing as COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe. There are nearly 267,000 confirmed cases and close to 7,000 deaths in the United States alone, according to Johns Hopkins University. John Hopkins is tracking the disease worldwide.
UnitedHealthcare joins the fight
Illinois’ second-biggest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare, recently announced that it would also waive out-of-pocket costs for treatment of COVID-19 through May 31. UnitedHealthcare will cover all fully-insured commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage plans. UnitedHealthcare has nearly 1 1/2 million members in the state of Illinois.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which President Trump signed into law, makes it mandatory for insurers to cover preventive care related to the coronavirus without cost-sharing.
Likewise, the CARES Act requires all-inclusive private health insurance plans to cover the FDA-approved testing for coronavirus without prior-authorization or cost-sharing. This requirement began on March 18, 2020.