How Much Will It Cost If You Get Coronavirus?
Federal and state officials are working to figure out the complexity of costs facing a patient who is exposed to or contracts COVID-19, from testing to treatment. Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber drivers sue over sick leave benefits.
The Washington Post:
What Your Health Plan Will Cover If You Get Coronavirus
In his prime-time speech, President Trump announced Wednesday night that health insurers had pledged to eliminate “all co-payments for coronavirus treatments” and “extend insurance coverage to those treatments.” That is not exactly correct. A broad swath of the nation’s private health insurers has agreed to waive the charges for a coronavirus test for their members. But they have not committed to cover the cost of care for those sickened by the virus. And while there is no specific treatment for the rapidly spreading infections, insurers have not expanded coverage for anyone, including the more seriously ill who need hospitalization. (Goldstein, 3/12)
Azar Extends Liability Immunity In The Fight Against COVID-19
HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday extended liability protection to a wide range of healthcare providers, suppliers, drugmakers and other entities while they help address the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the declaration, they would be immune from any claim related to "the manufacture, distribution, administration, or use of medical countermeasures ... except for claims involving 'willful misconduct.'"The order went into effect on February 4, 2020. (Brady, 3/12)
State Officials Offering Health Coverage To Uninsured People Worried About Coronavirus
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, Massachusetts’s health insurance exchange is allowing people without insurance to sign up for coverage. Officials at the state Health Connector said they’re opening a special enrollment period, until April 25, for anyone who wants to make sure they’re covered in case they’re affected by coronavirus. Typically, the Connector only enrolls new members from November through January. (McCluskey, 3/12)
Kaiser Health News and Politifact HealthCheck:
Trump Wrongly Said Health Insurers Will Pay For All Coronavirus Treatment
As coronavirus cases multiply in the United States, one concern Americans have is what they can expect to pay if they seek treatment. Speaking from the White House, President Donald Trump suggested that people with health insurance shouldn’t have to worry about that.“Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of the health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing,” Trump said March 11. (Luthra and Sherman, 3/13)
Rideshare Drivers Sue Uber, Lyft To Classify Them As Employees, Citing Coronavirus
Rideshare drivers this week re-upped lawsuits against Uber and Lyft to gain employee classification and sick leave benefits, arguing that the spread of coronavirus means judges should act now. Labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan filed an emergency complaint in California against each company and added to existing cases against both companies in Massachusetts on behalf of rideshare drivers. The drivers are asking for judges to issue emergency injunctions forcing Uber and Lyft to comply with each state’s employment classification laws and provide paid sick leave for the drivers. (Rodrigo, 3/12)